Brian Epstein was the manager of The Beatles from 1962 until his sudden death of an accidental drug overdose in August 1967 at the age of just 32. At the time, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr had been attending a seminar on Transcendental Meditation in Bangor, Wales, led by Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. However, their visit was cut short by the news of Brian’s death on August 27.
Ajoy Bose, the director of new documentary film The Beatles and India, spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk about how impactful Brian’s death was on John Lennon and how, as a result, he became dependent on the Maharishi.
The filmmaker and author of Across The Universe – The Beatles In India, said: “John was so dependent on Brian emotionally. He could have gone completely berserk.
“To some extent the Maharishi took over from Brian. A lot of things happened in a sequence that made [The Beatles] so dependent on the Maharishi.
“If John hadn’t gone completely crazy after Brian’s death and he didn’t have his India trip coming up…”
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He shared how three years prior George Harrison almost accidentally picked up the sitar only to fall in love with the Indian instrument. While adding how India not only had an influence on the band’s music but also their personalities.
Ajoy said: “I think The Beatles were trying to reinvent themselves from the biggest pop star group in the world to something else; something more serious, more lasting and more innovative.
“A different kind of music. I think India had a major role in the evolution of The Beatles.”
As for why The Beatles were particularly so attracted to India, the director said the band were looking for something deeper beyond their fame and fortune in the West.
Ajoy continued: “It’s also the decade because I think the sixties was the decade of young people searching for something more; something beyond the mundane consumerist life. I think Indian spiritual things like a mantra, The Beatles found them very exotic.
“I think they also wanted to slow down their pace because they lived such hectic lives that just the stillness of India was something that attracted them.
“And also the complexity of a new philosophy and I think particularly for George Harrison.”
The Beatles and India is released digitally today and a DVD/Blu-ray release will follow on October 29.