'Kumaré,' The True Story Of A False Prophet, Wins At SXSW

Mar 17, 2011

Vikram Ghandi - guru?
Credit Nathan Cone

A few years ago, Vikram Gandhi began work on a documentary about the yoga industry, but the more he learned, the more interested he became in the gurus that people follow.

Gandhi began to wonder just what people believed in, and decided to find out from the inside. Gandhi grew out his hair and beard, dressed in flowing robes, moved to Phoenix, and added an “e” to his middle name to become “Kumaré.” 

After a few weeks in Phoenix, Kumaré develops a core group of followers, who begin to open up their lives to him.  When Kumaré finally “unveils” to them his true identity, the results are surprisingly emotional.

"I knew that we wanted to go into places that we hadn't seen in a film like this before,” Gandhi says, “and I also knew that we wanted to not do anything mean-spirited, and really just keep everything positive. But because of the fact that I would unveil at the end, it meant that I really wanted to be aware of what people were thinking and explain what Vikram believes through Kumaré."

Kumaré” won an audience award as Best Documentary at the 2011 South By Southwest Film Festival.  In the above interview, director Vikram Gandhi speaks with Nathan Cone about the film and its message of finding your own inner guru.