Kevin wanted to take a picture of the film's producer, who did a Q&A after the movie. The producer was this totally paranoid guy who acted like we were stalking him, which was funny considering we'd just watched a movie about luring in the unsuspecting, and this guy seemed to suspect everybody. Kevin said, can I take your picture, and the guy said why, and Kevin said for Facebook, and the guy said, suspiciously, what Facebook? Kevin said his personal Facebook page, and he finally agreed, but since the light was so dark, Kevin said he'd get him later in the lobby. Even before Kevin freaked him out, I told the guy that I was writing a book about cults and I so resonated with what they were saying in the movie, and again, the vibe that I was this crazy stalker. When the guy exited to the lobby, he skirted past us. Kevin nabbed him outside as the guy nervously tried to ignore him. He's an idiot, as Kevin's really good at portraits, and some of his photos are going to be shown in the near future at White Columns. Spending nearly all of your time in the bubble of a writing/arts scene, as Kevin and I do, it's odd to be in a situation where you're not known. Kevin and I must project a much creepier front than we realize. So, instead of the producer, I've included a photo Kevin took of Molly, one of the duped followers, who couldn't have been sweeter. I suppose the duped are always sweeter than the dupers.
The Guru, a 2002 romantic comedy starring Jimi Mistry and Heather Graham. Jimi Mistry as a fake guru is just as cute as Bikram Gandhi is in Kumaré, but not nearly as charismatic, probably because Mistry's character never believes what he preaches—until the end when he tells his betrayed number one follower, Marisa Tomei, that she would be fine because really what had changed her was not him, but her guru within. Kevin and I turned to one another, our jaws dropped, and Kevin said it first, exactly what I was thinking: This is the same movie as Kumaré! That Mistry's guru slept with Tomei is just considered okay, not really addressed—Guruji's cavalier attitude towards the power dynamics of his involvement with Tomei's cardboard heiress character is perhaps the only genuine moment in the film. In a couple of interviews online, Bikram Gandhi is asked if he got involved with any of his students, and he said something like the morals of fake gurus are stricter than those of real gurus, implying no, he didn't.
I allowed myself to love Kumaré as a character. Like his followers, I squelched his contradictions, his narcissism, his smarmy exploitations, so seduced I was by the focused sexiness of his yogic goodness. But after seeing The Guru, my attitude towards Kumaré shifted and I feel kind of dirty having been sucked into believing.
Posted by Dodie Bellamy at 9:53 PM