Kumaré is available on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, among other streaming video sources. Visit the website www.kumaremovie.com for more info.

Kumaré is a slightly twisted story that unravels into an emotionally trying ending about a disenchanted, suspicious young director and his search for some kind of truth. The movie features the director, Vikram Gandhi, as a disgruntled man whose experiences with the new-age yoga and spiritual teachings have been far less than satisfying. After numerous experiences in search of a more profound truth in the US and India, Vikram takes a different approach than normal. Instead of following the beaten path of becoming a student turned teacher, Vikram assumes the role of Guru Sri Kumaré off the bat. In this quantum leap, he concocts new teachings from scratch, likenesses to existing teachings coincidental and abound but with a novel delivery. His goal: to empower followers with the knowledge that a Guru is not someone to look up to, its someone anyone can become on one’s own.

Kumaré, the movie. Courtesy of www.kumaremovie.com

Creating a persona for Sri Kumaré with no substance, he enters the city of Phoenix. With the help of Purva Bedi, he “infiltrates” local yoga studios with his reputation and begins spreading the word of his teachings. They are able to achieve what they had hoped, with some students truly beginning to heed his advice, not knowing his secret truth. The movie progresses with stories of his disciples’ devotion to his teachings, their detection of an honest and genuine Guru, and the life changing impact that Kumaré has had on their perspectives. Vikram’s true goal is to reveal his identity to his followers in the hope that it will strengthen his message, but what ensues is exciting, bewildering, and certainly thought provoking.

The film touches on the currently hot pop-culture topic of finding spirituality. While the growing craze of yoga has been taking over cities across the country, it is clear that many people may be capitalizing on the fervor of the public and delivering product that is haphazard in quality and/or authenticity. This, unfortunately, presents a problem. The end goal, however intense or lackadaisical the commitment of an individual, is for a more meaningful product than a pair of headphones or wearable pair of shoes; the pursuit of spirituality and a deeper purpose of life is a serious issue. This opportunistic approach of providers of goods and services to reach this end may be more destructive than meets the eye; in their pursuit of earnings, truth seekers may be misled in a way that can be more harmful than low sound quality or plantar fasciitis. In Vikram Gandhi’s exploration of this pursuit, he shows us his interpretation of this truth, which is that what we seek, we have inside us already. The only truth we need to know is how to harness this strength and motivation to better our own lives.

Vikram’s portrayal of Kumaré was as convincing to the viewer as he admitted it was to himself. In becoming this spiritual teacher, he mentions he felt more comfortable as Kumaré than he ever did as Vikram, and to the viewer, his demeanor seems to lend credence to this statement. The emotional component of the movie cannot be easily discarded, as the diversity of Kumaré’s followers provides virtually any audience member with a person they can relate to. Kumaré’s own emotional struggles are eye opening, as he discovers truth in his own teachings, perhaps something he did not anticipate to find meaning in for himself. This film is sure to provoke some level of thought in the themes it explores, especially in the context of society today. It is worth a watch, and perhaps some conversation over a cup of hot chai.