Kumare & Mamitas – Day 2 FFF 2012


I think it will be a long time before this film finds its rightful place within my heart and my mind. It’s a simple documentary by an Indian, Hindu man—Born and raised in New Jersey—Who has come to believe his religious family’s beliefs are totally bogus. To prove it, he “becomes” a guru of a made up religion and plants himself in Arizona where he entices 14 different people to become his disciples.

Then, he tells them who he truly is. At least, he tries to. In his own way. But, in my opinion, he does so in a way that is significantly more dishonest than honest.

I won’t say any more about what happens in the film. You really should see it. But I will talk about how it continues to affect me. Because it does.

At the heart of this documentary is the reality that Vickram Gandhi, the swindler who created the character of Kumare, is a fraud-pure and simple. In fact, he’s so good at being a fraud, he appears to even con himself into believing he has done some good by perpetrating this fraud.

L. Ron Hubbard is famous for saying, “If you want to get rich, start a religion.”  Apparently, he said that some time before he founded the “religion” of Scientology and then went on to become extremely wealthy.

In a similar vein, Vickram seems unable to face his own duplicity. When it comes time to “expose” his falsehood, he does so in a way that clearly allows both himself and his followers to latch on to “the truth” behind the lie–a convoluted concept which attempts to portray him, not as the perpetrator of a fraud, but as a bearer of the truth that if he can become a guru, then everyone has it within themselves to become a guru.

Suddenly, not only are both he and his followers embracing this concept, some people who watch this documentary seem to fall for it as well.

Personally, I try to detach myself from the hype. Being as objective as I can be, I observe this phenomenon. Are we, as humans, so desperate to find meaning in our lives that we’re willing to toss out reason and common sense and fall for something like this?

These are the thoughts I have as I watch both the movie and the reactions to it. I would love to hear your thoughts.

I can never figure out why a movie like this doesn’t make it into wide release, while movies like American Pie make a ton a money. Is it because this movie is too real? Too True?  Are most movie watchers like Kumare’s students—too eager for an escaped from reality that they are willing to see…or believe..the most ridiculous tripe?

I just don’t know. But I do know this. If you love good film. If an intelligent story appeals to you. If you’re the kind of person who is open to discovering truth about humanity, then a movie like Mamitas is worth a look.

2 Responses to “Kumare & Mamitas – Day 2 FFF 2012”

  1. d Says:

    You are right on about your interpretation of this movie. 100% accurate interpretation!!! Very insightful! You saw right through Kumare/Vickram. He told outright lies and masterfully so. He also had a cast of folks with him who lied equally masterfully and with thier collaborated story. So they pulled it off by sending 5-8 people out all with a similar story and lies, so then, to the group they solicited, who would think that a story reinforced by so many would be untrue. We in the yoga community belief in seeing the highest in people, so to assume that 5+ different people would fly to town to tell you lies to make a deceptive film is beyond the realm of possibility. Who would do such a thing? Ultimately it is Vickram that has to live with himself and what he has done. And it looks like he has conveniently re-written history to take himself off the hook. We all do this. The past is too painful, so we begin to remember it differently in hopes of some kind of inner reconciliation. I am not sure how he will ever rectify this within himself but only wish him eventual peace and redemption within himself.

    • LanceAround Says:

      Thanks for joining the conversation, DD. It sounds like you had personal experience with Vikram. My heart goes out to you. I actually got to ask him a question, in front of several hundred people, at the Enzian theatre where he was on a speakerphone. I told him I could understand why people felt betrayed by him and asked him for a response. I found his answer to be very self-justifying. But what surprised me was how some people in the audience appeared offended by my question. LanceAround

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