I’d been thinking about going based on the subject matter and the reviews. Studying and practicing yoga from such a Western perspective, I think it is important for me to understand more deeply how much and what of our culture India is embracing, while we embrace its philosophy and aesthetics and use it to supply us with cheap labor. I am conscious that yoga has come to me through the filter of British colonialism (that is one of the many reasons for the name “Rose Garden Yoga”).
I was worried about whether I could sit through the violent images, but I was talking to my sister last weekend, and she had it on the top of her list, so I decided to go after all. The movie deserves its superlative reviews. Don’t be misled, though, by the reviews that say it is ultimately a fairytale. Although it is a story of compassion and loyalty, of the quirks of fate, memory, and the solace of philosophy, it contains candid depictions of abject suffering, unbearable poverty, and unspeakable cruelty. It raises pointed questions about when violence is warranted in the face of injustice or for mere survival. It is certainly thought provoking and eye opening. Most of the thoughts I’ll wait to share with those who have seen the movie.