Siddhartha (1972)

Siddhartha (1972)

“There’s nothing wrong with the Buddha’s teachings; it’s just that I must go my own way.”

A spiritually-seeking young Indian named Siddhartha (Shashi Kapoor) goes on a trip of self-discovery with his friend Govinda (Romesh Sharma), eventually falling in love with a beautiful courtesan (Simi Garewal) while learning that spiritual enlightenment can’t be taught.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Character Arc
  • India
  • Religious Faith

This adaptation of Herman Hesse’s 1922 novel of the same name was written and directed by Conrad Rooks, whose only other directorial effort is the GFTFF-listed Chappaqua (1966). Sven Nykvist’s cinematography is exquisite throughout:

… but there’s not enough to this simple storyline to hold our interest. Siddhartha gives up his worldly comforts, follows the Buddha for awhile, tries a life of sensual pleasure:

… and eventually realizes that the only truth in life is what one experiences internally.

This was all very much of its time back in the early 1970s, when so many were on similar paths of spiritual seeking — but it will likely only be of interest to modern-day film fanatics who happen to be curious about how Hesse’s novel was translated to the screen.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Sven Nykvist’s cinematography

Must See?
No; you can skip this one unless you’re curious.


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