The Beatles And India: new documentary to shed light on infamous Beatles trip

The Beatles in India
(Image credit: Colin Harrison Avico Ltd)

A new movie, The Beatles And India, will, aims to shed light on The Beatles' infamous trip to Rishikesh, India, in 1968. Accompanied by Donovan, Beach Boy Mike Love and actress Mia Farrow the band, prompted by George Harrison, sought enlightenment in the meditation classes of famed spiritualist, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. 

Less committed to the cause than Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney met clandestinely in each other’s rooms during the break to plot the next Beatles album, which turned into The White Album

A statement released by the filmmakers says, "The Beatles And India is a unique historical chronicle of the enduring love affair between The Beatles and India that started more than half a century ago. 

"Rare archival footage, recordings and photographs, eye-witness accounts and expert comments along with location shoots across India, bring alive the fascinating journey of George, John, Paul and Ringo from their high octane celebrity lives in the West to a remote Himalayan ashram in search of spiritual bliss that inspires an unprecedented burst of creative songwriting. 

"It is the first serious exploration of how India shaped the development of the greatest ever rock band and their own pioneering role bridging two vastly different cultures."

The film was inspired by the book Across The Universe - The Beatles In India by author Ajoy Bose, which was published in 2018. It will premiere on June 6 at the BFI in London as part of the Tongues On Fire UK Asian Film Festival, and will receive a full release in the autumn. 

The film will also be accompanied by a soundtrack album, which will feature contemporary cover versions from Indian artists of Beatles songs inspired by the trip. The first of these to emerge is from Indian singer-songwriter Nikhil D’Souza, who performs John Lennon’s India, India. The song was recorded by Lennon in 1980, but not released until it appeared on the John Lennon Signature Box in 2010. Full tracklist below. 

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The Beatles and India: Songs Inspired by the Film Tracklist

  1. Tomorrow Never Knows – Kissnuka
  2. Mother Nature's Son - Karsh Kale / Benny Dayal
  3. Gimme Some Truth – Soulmate
  4. Across The Universe - Tejas / Maalavika Manoj
  5. Everybody's Got Something To Hide (Except Me And My Monkey) - Rohan Rajadhyaksha
  6. I Will - Shibani Dandekar
  7. Julia - Dhruv Ghanekar
  8. Child Of Nature - Anupam Roy
  9. The Inner Light - Anoushka Shankar / Karsh Kale
  10. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill - Raaga Trippin
  11. Back In The USSR - Karsh Kale / Farhan Ahktar
  12. I'm So Tired - Lisa Mishra
  13. Sexy Sadie - Siddharth Basrur
  14. Martha My Dear - Nikhil D'Souza
  15. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) - Parekh & Singh
  16. Revolution - Vishal Dadlani
  17. Love You To - Dhruv Ghanekar
  18. Dear Prudence - Karsh Kale / Monica Dogra
  19. India, India - Nikhil D'Souza

The Beatles In India

(Image credit: Silver Screen)
Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.