Exploris in downtown Raleigh debuts Mystic India, the latest IMAX extreme travelogue, in conjunction with India Day celebrations on Saturday, Feb. 3, during which a statue of Mahatma Gandhi—donated by the local Indian community—will be unveiled.
Peter O'Toole provides the corny narration for the film, which emphasizes India's spirituality as a locus for cultural tourism. The journey of Neelkanth, a late 18th-century child yogi, across the subcontinent is an excuse for reveling in the superb detail of the 70mm image on IMAX's ginormous screen.
Thankfully bereft of the loud noises and sick-making swooping camera that caused my daughter to run from such films in her childhood, Mystic India is a pleasurable 45-minute excursion. Much of the magnificently detailed architecture could never be seen in such detail even in person, and views of the spectacularly varied landscape and the crush of massive religious festivals provide engaging spectacle.
O'Toole's careful enunciation of the few Hindi words in his text is mostly correct, and the film's admirable message of "unity in diversity" is meaningful not just in the context of India's mélange of faith, language and ethnicity, but as Indian-Americans become a greater percentage of the American melting pot.