Thanks to his association with George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, the Indian classical composer and sitar master, helped spread a Western fascination with Hindu mysticism in the ’60s. That quickly became a certain form of kitsch, and that whole thing probably reached its nadir with the 2008 release of The Love Guru, a godawful racist bomb of a movie in which Mike Meyers plays an Indian spiritual guru who, yes, played the sitar. That means Shankar is indirectly partly responsible for that movie. Thanks for nothing, Ravi Shankar!
Thanks to Shankar’s daughter Norah Jones, we now know what Shankar thought of the movie. In a new Rolling Stone profile, Jones speaks a bit about getting to know her father toward the end of his life. (He died four years ago.) Shankar was 88 when The Love Guru came out, and he and Jones went to see the movie together. Here’s how she remembers it:
He really wanted to go see The Love Guru when it came out, and so we did. Afterward I said, “What did you think, on a scale of one to 10?” He said, “It was a zero, but I enjoyed it.” I don’t know if he’d be happy that people know that. But that was the nice stuff.
Deepak Chopra also was less kind.