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Review: Little insight in 'Decoding Deepak'

Gotham Chopra's documentary about his father is a straightforward portrait of the man behind the self-help guru.

October 04, 2012|By Mark Olsen
  • Deepak and Gotham Chopra in "Decoding Deepak."
Deepak and Gotham Chopra in "Decoding Deepak." (Handout )

Filmmaker Gotham Chopra is the thirtysomething son of Deepak Chopra, which gives him a unique perspective on the icon of pop spirituality and celeb-friendly self-help guru. Yet there is precious little table-turning or real insight in "Decoding Deepak" — unless uncovering a passion for Starbucks and a preference for upscale hotels counts as takedown material.

The film follows Gotham and Deepak as they embark on a year-long trip around the world, with the son intending to make a truly revealing portrait of his father. He does show Deepak Chopra to be, like most anyone these days, a man torn between the demands of work life and home life.

If anything it is endearing to learn that for Deepak Chopra's standing as a self-generating industry, there is a certain seat-of-the-pants sloppiness to what he does, an improvisational spontaneity to even his most grandiose pronouncements.

"Decoding Deepak" does not feel, as it might, like an indictment of those messages but rather a straightforward portrait of someone working hard to present the product he is selling.

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"Decoding Deepak." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes. At Laemmle's Monica 4-plex, Santa Monica.

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