Synopsis by Mark Deming
Kumare is a yogi and holy man from India who has come to the American Southwest to share his knowledge and help others achieve spiritual enlightenment. He's also a phony, the invention of filmmaker Vikram Gandhi, who was born and raised in New York City and is fascinated by the way many Americans are drawn to the perceived exoticism of the East. Knowing little about yoga or traditional Indian spiritual practice, Gandhi traveled to Phoenix, AZ, set himself up as the new prophet in town, making up his "wisdom" as he want along and allowing his camera crew to capture what happens to those who take the bait. A surprisingly large number of intelligent and thoughtful people became Kumare's disciples, and in the documentary Kumare, Gandhi allows us to ponder if his followers are dupes or simply people looking for spiritual solace who take their enlightenment where they can get it. At the same time, Gandhi is forced to look at himself and Kumare's unexpected impact on the community. Kumare received its world premiere at the 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival.
enlightenment, fraud, guru, meditation, yoga