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Disappointed that Sacha Baron Cohen's latest movie chose to forgo his controversial prankster tactics? Fear not -- Indian-American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi has come to save the day.
In the SXSW Film Festival award-winner "Kumare," Gandhi dupes a handful of all white Americans into believing he's a spiritual guru. Why he chooses to embark on this journey is what fuels the curiosity factor of this provocative documentary. One thing's for sure: "Kumare" was made to ruffle a few feathers.
Initially the film was meant simply to capture the "guru phenomenon" that's taken over the world, but Gandhi decided to take his documentary one step further when he noticed that, as he puts it, "the gurus were trying to out-guru each other." To undergo the transformation required to turn skeptics into believers, Gandhi grew out his beard, invented his very own meaningless medication techniques, and mastered yoga. When the makeover was complete, the followers came.
No doubt you must be asking: Does Gandhi reveal his true identity to his crop of well-meaning believers? Obviously, we won't spoil the ending for you. Just know that the outcome of his risky endeavor is extremely rewarding, and sure to surprise (it floored us).
While Sacha Baron Cohen's influence is clear, Gandhi doesn't aim for laughs with "Kumare," and, unlike Baron Cohen, he doesn't outright mock his film's duped subjects. The documentary has a lot more heart than anything Baron Cohen's ever put out. More than anything, "Kumare" is empathetic to those who choose to follow a spiritual leader for personal satisfaction.
The differences between Baron Cohen and Gandhi haven't stopped "Borat" director Larry Charles from endorsing the film. The poster of "Kumare" features a quote from Charles that reads, "You must see 'Kumare.'" We couldn't agree more.