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Kumare 2012 UNRATED CC

A provocative social experiment-turned-documentary, KUMARE follows American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi as he transforms himself into a wise Indian guru, hoping to prove the absurdity of blind faith.

Starring:
Vikram Gandhi, Toby
Runtime:
1 hour, 26 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Vikram Gandhi
Starring Vikram Gandhi, Toby
Supporting actors Greg, Molly, Kimberley, Stewart, Joyce, Sue, Rachel, Bobby, Teresa, Riad, Rachel, Donna, Andre, Tish, Monica, Angel Marie, Pam, Darrell
Studio Kino Lorber, Disposable
MPAA rating Unrated
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Watched this last night with my husband who follows his own Eastern guru, so the irony was not lost on either of us. ;-) Part interesting social experiment, part art project, part truth-seeking, from my perspective. I thought it was artfully done and thoughtfully filmed, considering the hoax being perpetrated on some particularly sensitive, spiritually-minded folks. Regardless of the filmmaker's motives, which I'm sure were complex based on his own life experience, and viewpoint as an artist and truth-seeker himself, my take-away was that the positive experience of the participants was no less authentic because their teacher was a "big faker," and his method was made up. All of our rituals and beliefs are made up anyway, and the only real reality is that elusive place beyond language and identity we all know is there inside us, and leaves us at some level feeling like something is missing in our lives if we don't connect with it regularly. (Through a blue light meditation, maybe? ;)) Seems like some of the participants found that place of inner truth through Kumare, so does that mean he was a real teacher despite himself, or that the students were their own gurus, as he was insisting? I think it's a bit of both. Watching it unfold was a little gut wrenching, and I was nervous to see the unveiling, since I was already aware that not all the students were appreciative of the method with which they were taught (or victimized depending on their perspective). I'm glad to see that many were understanding and even found it the ultimate teaching, having made a real connection with Kumare, Vikram's "ideal self," who may have started out as a persona, but became something much more.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
OUCH! Having spent the last 15 years immersed in the US yoga scene, this excellent and insightful documentary hits painfully close to home. Vikram delivers a profound and positive message through the use of light-hearted humor and satire. He manages to expose the irony inherent in the guru industry, while endearing the individual seeker to the viewer.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
I was eager to watch Kumare after Ghandi appeared on The Colbert Report in July, but the limited runs of this documentary sent it to the back of my mind until a friend brought it up in conversation as to whether or not I had seen it.

I must admit, as a yoga practioner, I was thoroughly moved and impressed at the insight of Ghandi to even set a plan like this into motion. I think it should be watched by all, not just the more spiritually astute or "walkers of the path". It speaks VOLUMES to how desperate the Western society has become for "enlightenment" that they will attach to anyone/thing.

MUST WATCH!
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Format: DVD
I watched this film knowing full well it was about an Indian man who pretends to be a "Guru." His goal is find that part of American society that so desperately clings to their words and actions purely because they are "Indian" or are "Eastern."
There is an implied thought process that people living in these countries or who declare themselves as "Gurus" are somehow more in touch with their own spirituality and thus can take a poor soulless Westerner under their wing and help them find happiness and peace.
Kumare actually both debunks that myth, as well as showing it to be true. How? you might say. Vikram Ghandi is as American as one can get. But he too wonders about these people who declare themselves to be spiritual guides and willingly accept money and more from those seeking some kind of peace. Are they legitimate He goes to India to find out.
It turns out that its not a stretch for him to pass himself off as "Kumare," especially physically as he grows his hair and beard long. He wears clothing of a "Guru" and carries a staff made up of a design of his own.

He and as he and his helpers begin to introduce him to the yoga centers in Arizona. He is amazed at how easily people are willing to follow him and validate their belief in him so quickly. But he also tells them the truth in his "teachings." Many times he declares himself a "Faker" yet his audience believes his is using a metaphor and not actually revealing that he is faking this persona. He has the Indian accented English down pat, as he explains that he remembers his Grandfather's mode of speech.

Ultimately he must reveal himself as he really is and of course some of "Kumare's" followers are devastated. Yet others , I was astonished to see, were not angry with him, were not hurt at being deceived.
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Format: Amazon Video
This is a documentary that works on at least two levels. I found myself unexpectedly moved after watching it.

I'll try to write this without spoilers (well, no important ones).

At its most superficial, and especially in the beginning, Kumare is about people naively believing in gurus, or rather in handing their lives over to other human beings as imperfect as themselves, but who go around wearing fancy robes and dropping Sanskrit jargon.

A brief aside. This phenomenon, the whole guru trip, is an important subject that I have written about elsewhere. While it cannot be denied that there are a small number of truly saintly individuals (Sri Ramana Maharshi being the best known but not the only one), they are a drop in the ocean compared to the huge number of gurus inverted commas who, whether through deliberate deception (which seems to be rare) or genuine self-delusion (thinking themselves having attained a status of "enlightenment") set themselves up as spiritual teachers. Especially in the West, they gather followers, and from there you have to be incredibly pure not to be pulled in by the lure of power, money, or sex. Incidentally, unlike all of these gurus in the West who are looking for students, those very rare authentic teachers never looked for followers, asked favors, or set themselves up above everyone else.

Now, I can only speak of gurus from the perspective of a westerner, for whom all this Hindu and Buddhist stuff is exotic and appealing, because it is so different. But Vikram Gandhi comes from a Hindu culture, and for him the whole hide-bound religiosity of the phenomenon was as absurd as the equally hide-bound literal Christianity or Judaism is be to a free-thinking Westerner like myself.
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