Yesterday I posted about an 85-minute doc, Meeting The Beatles in India. The piece was titled “I’ll Kill You, Lennon, You Bastard.” A comment from Variety‘s Chris Willman mentioned that a portion of the doc briefly dealt with allegations about sexual misbehavior on the part of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and yet Willman passed along observations from others that this portion may (emphasis on the “m” word) have been removed from the PPV version.
This morning I wrote a Facebook note to Paul Saltzman, director of Meeting The Beatles in India, which Gathr is now offering PPV streaming access to the film. I also wrote the film’s publicist, Maggie Begley.
“Paul — Greetings from Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere. On 9.9 Variety‘s music critic Chris Willman reviewed your Meet the Beatles in India doc. I riffed on the film yesterday, and here’s what Willman said in the HE comment section:
“‘When I reviewed the film, I made mention of a section toward the end that brings up the allegations against the Maharishi and then explains it away to sabotage by Magic Alex that spoiled a good thing.
“‘I then heard from people who watched the film upon its PPV opening that said this section I described was no longer in the film, and viewers were left thinking that everything ended happily. I’d be interested to hear from anyone else who saw the film which cut they saw.’
Willman is a totally reliable, first-rate journalist so I’m taking his word for this, or at least regarding what he says he’s been told. Have you in fact removed the referred-to portion of your doc? If so, do you have any comment or explanation as to why this was done?
Pertinent Willman paragraph, in 9.9.20 Variety review:
“The Maharishi is portrayed only in a positive light, although there’s a passing reference to the nasty song Lennon wrote about him immediately after the sojourn, ‘Sexy Sadie,’ before Saltzman fleetingly addresses the still hot-button topic of why some of the group members fell out with the guru, which had to do with the Maharishi allegedly making moves on women in the compound. The apologia offered by Saltzman and Lewisohn is that a peripheral figure in the Beatles’ entourage, ‘Magic Alex,’ spread false stories about the holy man, though [Alex] told a very different accounting of the fallout (and sued The New York Times over a description similar to the one offered here) before he died in 2017.”