Short Cut to Nirvana: Kumbh Mela | Chicago Reader

Short Cut to Nirvana: Kumbh Mela

According to one of the gurus interviewed for this documentary, to criticize another is to pollute one's soul, so I must be entitled to some kind of workmen's comp. Italian filmmaker Maurizio Benazzo and British filmmaker Nick Day traveled to Allahabad, India, in January 2001 to record the Kumbh Mela, the Hindu festival held every 12 years. It's quite a party, and this documentary alternates between colorful religious spectacle and talking-head sermons from various spiritual teachers, including the Dalai Lama. Their proselytizing messages of peace and oneness for the world are standard but still welcome, and a couple of young American pilgrims are on hand to provide a Western perspective. In English and subtitled Hindi. 85 min.

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