Showtimes Hare Krishna! The Mantra, The Movement And The Swami Who Started It All
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Times of India
In mid-sixties, a 70-year-old Indian spiritual teacher Srila Prabhupada travels to New York to fulfil his guru's dream of spreading the message of Krishna Consciousness in the West. Starting from a tiny office in a frosty, frozen New York, the ageing aesthetic takes on the West to complete his life's mission; establishing the Hare Krishna movement globally.
The sixties were one of the most exciting decades in America marked by the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the civil rights movement and other internal turmoils. With all of this emerged a unique counterculture that had a different set of values. People in North America were looking to expand their consciousness and reject the prevailing order; be it religious, political or social. This was the time when Prabhupada arrives in New York, alone and without any sponsors to spread the word of Krishna Consciousness.
The fact that the first followers of the swami documented the early days of the movement gives us a useful glimpse to the humble beginnings of his sect in a new country. It helps one understand the single-minded devotion of the swami to spread his word. Another interesting bit is when the new followers take their message to London to The Beatles. You get to see how these followers piqued the interest of one of the biggest bands ever, which helped catapult their order to overnight fame.
There are funny moments, where the guru is made to look human as he indulges in funny banter through the course of his sermons. This helps because 'Hare Krishna!' doesn't delve for too long on its criticisms. There are merely a few minutes of the film where the proponents of the movement agree that they may have hard-sold their message at times. Because of this, there is no real drama and it comes out a bit flat. If you're a follower though, this one is for you.