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George cooked Bengali food: Olivia Harrison

music Updated: Oct 21, 2011 16:42 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times
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George had an idea to make his documentary back in 1995, when The Beatles had done their anthology," says Olivia, wife of The Beatles, late legend and band's lead guitarist George Harrison, sitting in the lobby of Cinemax, Versova. "After he died, someone approached me and they were starting their own documentary. I didn’t think it was the appropriate time."

In 2006, a mutual friend of the Harrisons spoke to her about Hollywood ace filmmaker Martin Scorsese. "I was told that Martin does documentaries. So I took the letters with me that George wrote when he was 23. They expressed this honesty and deep thoughts that a young man at the pinnacle of his career had about still not being satisfied," says Olivia, about the inception of George The BeatlesHarrison: Life In The Material World, which Scorsese directed. Olivia spent the next five years sourcing material. "The archive boxes start in 1943, when George was born," she reveals, adding that though those years were "difficult, they were also joyful". "It was freedom for me to be able to do it. There was a reason, it wasn’t just me reveling in the past."

A major part of the documentary showed George’s time in India, his sitar-playing days and his time with Pandit Ravi Shankar. ‘I have met a lot of people… but the one person that impressed me was Ravi, because he didn’t try to impress me’, is a line in the film spoken by George. "For him, it was about India's music and people. For a long time a lot of Indian classical musicians used to live in our house and George used to cook Bengali food."

Olivia married George in 1978 and he passed away in 2001.The film was screened at the Mumbai Film Festival that concluded in the city on Thursday. Olivia, who was in the city with the film’s editor David Tedeschi, left the country late last night.