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Decoding Deepak

Movie Details

Decoding Deepak
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Date: 2012-10-05 NY/LA
  • Running Time: 83 min.
  • Director: Gotham Chopra
  • Cast: Deepak Chopra, Gotham Chopra
  • Producers: Gotham Chopra, Scott Carlin, Mark Rinehart
  • Writer: Gotham Chopra
  • Distributor: Independent Pictures
  • Official Site: Decoding Deepak Official Site

Made and narrated by a son in an attempt to reconcile his own perception of his father with that of the public at large, Gotham Chopra's Decoding Deepak is as much an exercise in self-help as it is a demystification of its title character. Deepak Chopra, whose protégés include Lady Gaga and Oprah, has by his own admission long seen the suffering of others as a chance to practice his craft--which mostly consists of pseudoscience and vague screeds on consciousness vis-à-vis our place in the universe. Following the celebrity guru into Thailand for his ordainment as a Buddhist monk, the film is at its best when Gotham can't help but see through his father, who seems entirely restless without an audience and a smartphone through which to be reminded of their adoration of him. "I'm not pointing this out because I have a bone to pick with him," Gotham says. "I'm pointing it out because it's true." Fair enough. He says several other damning things about his father along the way--"The more I follow him, the more I see he's driven by an insatiable desire to be relevant"--but never comes across as vindictive. In that way, he does something a lot of other documentarians try at and fail: makes something intimate and relevant to the outside world, which is especially helpful given how many people have only seen his father's public face.

Michael Nordine

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