Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Kumare: That was No Guru . . .
Gandhi is from New Jersey (so allowances should be made). He will pass himself off as an Indian guru,
finding plenty of New Age suckers to fall for his docu-punking. While all religions are his stated target, he
will inadvertently prove Hamilton’s maxim about falling for anything if you
believe in nothing. Indeed, it is like
Marin County at the height of the est craze in Gandhi’s Kumare (trailer
opens tomorrow in New York at the IFC Center.
a trip to wardrobe and a stop at hair & makeup, Gandhi is ready to give
Phoenix Whole Foods customers the full Borat treatment in his Sri Kumare
persona. Fresh from his Indian ashram,
Kumare makes the rounds of the local yoga circuit trolling for disciples. To look legit, he has two co-conspirators,
Purva Bedi and Kristen Galgaro, who act like Price is Right models for the holistic scene.
it takes a bit of time for Kumare to kick start his guru practice, but before
long, he has a room full of Volvo drivers hanging on his every word. The devilish part is the essence of Kumarism:
Kumare is fake—you are your own guru. It
is so obvious, one can almost see how his loyal followers missed such a
nothing else, Gandhi proves he can shoot fish in a barrel. It is pretty clear the spirituality set is
just asking to be taken for a ride.
Frankly, they are lucky to have fallen in with Kumare, who scrupulously
refrained from fleecing the flock. However, they hardly prove Gandhi’s bigger rational
materialist point. Ironically, had they
been asked, Kumarists would probably have said they were too free-thinking for
organized religion. Indeed, it seems a
safe bet they are “spiritual, not religious.”
derives a considerable number of laughs from
Gandhi’s brazen chutzpah. To his credit,
he starts to feel bad about just how far he is able to take the joke, but his
attempt to wrap it all up in a Kumbaya teaching moment falls way flat. Make no mistake, the joke is unequivocally on
his would-be disciples. Lacking the guts
and intellectual heft of a Mads Brugger, Gandhi really is like a Sacha Baron
Cohen for the art-house market.
Recommended for those who need to feel smarter than other people to
maintain their sense of self-worth, Kumare
opens tomorrow (6/20) in New York at the IFC Center.