Directed by Gotham Chopra
Although it was shot by his own son Gotham, this documentary about Deepak Chopra is far from a hagiography of the spiritual leader and author. Gotham turns out to be a uniquely insightful and surprisingly balanced guide. Much of Decoding Deepak concerns the director’s coming to terms with the fact that he is his own unique individual. On some level, the son understands that his desire to mimic his father may well have been an attempt to get closer to him—to find a parental engagement and love that he felt was partly denied him in the midst of his father’s whirlwind career.
In other words, Gotham isn’t afraid to cast a critical eye. For him, growing up Chopra has meant taking a backseat to his father’s ambition and busy life: the Deepak this film presents is a successful guru and leader, to be sure, but amid the nonstop maelstrom of book signings, lectures, awards banquets, and TV interviews, he’s also a guy forever glued to his smartphone—one who himself sometimes finds it hard to appreciate the moment.
Decoding Deepak is a loving film but also makes it clear that Deepak Chopra is enamored of the frenzy of his career. So, in a way, this documentary is partly a suspense film, too: we wait with anticipation for that moment when the subject will come down from his heights and learn to enjoy something as simple as a playful exchange with a beloved grandchild. Luckily, Gotham Chopra is there to capture that as well.