‘Beatles Forever’: Seminci 2021 to celebrate the contribution of the Liverpool quartet to cinema and universal culture

  • The Festival will program a film marathon featuring the premiere of documentary feature The Beatles and India as well as a concert and an exhibition at Casa de la India on the band’s trip to the Asian country.

The Valladolid International Film Festival will schedule the ‘Beatles Forever’ film marathon, which will feature the Spanish premiere of the documentary feature The Beatles and India (Ajoy Bose and Peter Compton, 2021), accompanied by some other two documentaries: The Beatles: Eight Days a Week. The Touring Years (Ron Howard, 2016), and Get Back (Richard Lester, 1991) as well as a restored print of the musical comedy A Hard Day’s Night (Richard Lester, 1964).

The premiere of the documentary The Beatles and India at 66 Seminci will run parallel to an homonymous exhibition hosted by Valladolid’s Casa de la India from September 17 to November 7 which, together with a concert of versions of the Liverpool quartet’s songs by Indian musicians Malavika Manoj, Tejas Menon and Neil Mukherjee, will complete the events making up the ‘Beatles Forever’ tribute.

Produced by Silva Screen Records, The Beatles and India, is inspired by the book “Across the Universe, The Beatles in India” (2018) by Indian journalist Ajoy Bose, director of the film together with Peter Compton, and is a unique chronicle of the enduring love story between The Beatles and India that began more than half a century ago. The documentary, which will screen out of competition in the Time of History section, features archival footage, photographs, eyewitness accounts and expert commentary, along with filming across India, to bring back to life the journey of George, John, Paul and Ringo from their lives as celebrities in the West to a remote Himalayan ashram in search of spiritual happiness: an event that would inspire an unprecedented burst of songwriting creativity.

The premiere of The Beatles and India will be further highlighted by the presence in Valladolid of the two directors of the documentary, Ajoy Bose and Peter Compton, together with the film’s producer Reynold D’Silva.

This documentary is part of the film marathon scheduled for October 26 at Sala FUNDOS (Plaza Fuente Dorada) which also features a restored print of the 1964 classic A Hard Day’s Night, Richard Lester), the big screen debut of the Liverpool quartet; the documentary Get Back (Richard Lester, 1991), the latest film by the British director that includes numerous musical performances by Paul McCartney’s band during a world tour of the legendary musician; and The Beatles: Eight Days a Week. The Touring Years (Ron Howard, 2016), an intimate portrait including interviews, previously unreleased music and exclusive visuals, together with restored sound recordings from live performances by the greatest band of all time.

The marathon and the exhibition will be the main highlights of ‘Beatles Forever’ at 66 Seminci, an event complete with a concert, the first of their European tour, by Indian artists Malavika Manoj, Tejas Menon and Neil Mukherjee, who also appear in the documentary The Beatles and India. The artists will perform Indian-related covers of Beatles songs that are also part of the accompanying album to the film, which celebrates the inspiration drawn by the band during their time in India, as well as the enduring influence of their songs on the musicians of the latter country.

The exhibition at Casa de la India

The exhibition “The Beatles and India” illustrates in detail the relationship of the Beatles with the culture and philosophy of India and, in particular, the historic trip the quartet made to the Asian country in 1968 and the influence it exerted on their own music. The sample includes material donated by different organizations and collectors and other private loans from many countries, including those by Pattie Boyd, George Harrison’s first wife. Among other exhibits , visitors will be able to watch original photographs and reproductions, original manuscripts and letters, the gold record presented to George Harrison for The Concert for Bangladesh, audiovisuals, lyrics of songs composed in India, an original sitar played by Ravi Shankar and instruments of India.

Curated by Blanca de la Torre, the exhibition is structured in three parts: the first, and the main pillar of the event, focuses on the trip that the band made to an ashram in Rishikesh to introduce themselves into transcendental meditation through the famous guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This section displays images, documentation and an immersive installation. The second part focuses on the figure of George Harrison and his relationship with Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar, a key figure in understanding the Beatle’s interest in Indian culture and fuelled a fascination that enthused the rest of the Fab Four. This section also provides an introduction to Indian music and exhibits some of its main instruments. Finally, the sample’s last segment dedicates a small section to a milestone in the dialogue that took place in the seventies between Indian and Western music: the Concert for Bangladesh that took place in New York City in 1971 and was promoted by Harrison and Shankar as the first charity concert in international music history.

The exhibition, produced by Casa de la India, has the support of the Department of Culture and Tourism and the Municipal Foundation for Culture of the Valladolid City Council together with Valladolid’s Joint Partnership for the Promotion of Tourism, in collaboration with the Embassy of India, the University of Valladolid, the Ravi Shankar Foundation, Silva Screen Records and the Valladolid International Film Festival.

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