Billed as “the true story of a false prophet,” Kumare is more than a simple guru expose. New Jersey filmmaker Vikram Gandhi documents himself as he grows his hair and beard to wise-man length, polishes his yoga moves, adopts his Indian grandmother’s accent, and strikes out for Phoenix, AZ to become a guru. As ludicrous as it sounds, Kumare gains a small, but devout following.
The Kumare devotees’ enthusiastic descriptions of their guru’s presence, energy, aura, and wisdom are initially laugh inducing, but the film takes a serious turn, as Vikram finds himself confronted by the very real life questions, fears and dreams his students present to him. No longer content to mouth platitudes to assuage his students, Vikram seemingly goes all in and devises a real teaching that will give his students the ability to free themselves from the need for Kumare. How this web of deception and truth ends, you will have to see for yourself.
I still ponder the implications of this film. How can we project wisdom upon something which is completely false? Was the wisdom people felt, real in any sense? Was it all wishful thinking, dreaming, self-deception? Did it matter? What if a false guru brings you to truth? Does that justify the guru’s deceit?
Despite setting out to make an anti-guru film, in the end the film implies that a guru is often necessary, even if the guru is false, to waken people to seeing the higher truth within themselves.
Visit the fake Kumare website.