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Hippie Masala - documentary DVD review
HIPPIE MASALA Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 stars
Directors:Ulrich Grossenbacher and Damaris Lüthi   Studio: Alive Mind
DVD release: 08 August 2008   Runtime: 93 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
DVD Features: Languages (English, Swiss, German, Hindi, Kanada), Subtitles (English)

Masala is defined as a varying blend of spices used in Indian cooking.

In the '60s and '70s, hippies traveled to the East on spiritual pilgrimages. India was seen as a spiritual nexus for some; others had perhaps read William S. Burroughs and about the Beat Hotel, and sought insight through drugs and surreal experiences in a culture that embraced such pursuits. The bulk of the hippies and freaks returned to life in the West. Hippie Masala is about the ones who stayed and found a place in India.

The film follows Cesare from Italy, Robert from Holland, Meera from Belgium, and Hanspeter from Switzerland. We see them in their everyday lives, and their lifestyles vary greatly. Cesare and Meera seem to live more spiritual lives, without spouses or the trappings of ownership for the most part. Robert and Hanspeter try to piece together an existence with wives and children. Hanspeter runs a farm as best he can given the conditions. All of them have harder lives than they would likely have in the West, where electricity and clean water are expected and taken for granted.

Hippie Masala didn't show me what I was expecting. I though I'd see the lives of hippies from San Francisco who'd spent a month in an ashram in the '70s and thought they'd get a more pure source of spiritual enlightenment in India. That does not make it less interesting, but does make it harder for me to relate to. Alhough I was hoping to see some Americans, I was not disappointed in the film. I might entertain the idea of a spiritual pilgrimage, but I can see from this that I would be one of the ones who returned in a few months.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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