Hollywood | Posted on Oct 20, 2011
George Harrison had an Indian soul: wife
Mumbai: "Ravi was the first person who did not try to impress me but in turn I was impressed by him," Beatles legend George Harrison says about his first meeting with Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar in Martin Scorsese's documentary 'George Harrison: Living In the Material World'.
The meeting not only began a great friendship between two great musicians but was also catalyst in introducing Harrison to Indian philosophy, which impacted every aspect of his life.
"His meeting with Ravi was not just between two individuals but of two cultures. It was a great cultural exchange," says Olivia Harrison, wife of the late Beatle and producer of the documentary which chronicles Harrison's journey to fame and his search for spirituality.
A large portion of the three and half an hour documentary, which had its Asian premiere at the Mumbai Film Festival last night to a packed house, deals with Harrison's experiences with India and the friendships that he formed here.
"India impacted every aspect of his life. He was not a tourist here. Actually, he was one of you. In his later years he was really happy to have made certain decisions in his life. He spent a lot of time in meditation and his connection
with India grew deeper over the years," Olivia told PTI.
"I think India influenced his music a lot. He was very fond of Indian classical music and instruments like sitar, sarangi, tabla and veena," she added. The second half of the documentary deals with Harrison's spiritual experiences and a lot of it is set in India and has some of the rare footage of musicians like Alla Rakha Khan, Ravi Shankar, Ustad Sultan Khan and Maharshi Mahesh Yogi.
Olivia says Harrison's connection with India also had an impact on her. "When we met I was already searching for what George called inward journey. My introduction to the country came through George. I remember we came to India in 1976."