In 1932 Meher Baba made a point of meeting many of the major Hollywood film stars including Boris Karloff, Cary Grant, Tallulah Bankhead, Gary Cooper and Maurice Chevalier, giving private interviews to some. Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford arranged a private reception for Him at their mansion 'Pickfair'.
During the reception Baba told them:
"I do not need to tell you who are engaged in the production and distribution of motion
pictures what a power you hold in your hands, nor do I doubt that you are fully alive to
the responsibilities which the wielding of that power involves. He who stimulates the
imagination of the masses can move them in any direction he chooses, and there is
more powerful an instrument for stimulating their imagination than motion pictures."
He also compared cinema to the illusion of duality:
"The whole universe and its structure, I have created. The universe is My cinema.
But just as
an audience becomes absorbed in witnessing a drama on the screen,
and the film
engages their emotions and sways their feelings by its influence,
causing them to forget
that it is not real. In the same way, the spectators of the world
are charmed by this worldly
'film' show, forgetting themselves and taking it to be reality...
In 1956 Baba said:
"If people, who have not seen Me in the flesh, see Me through the medium of film, it will help in the process of liberating
them from the bondage of illusion."
Throughout His life Baba chose to be filmed. This has left for us wonderful, powerful and precious glimpses of what life with
the Avatar was like.
Many hours of moving images of Meher Baba were made from 1932 to the
The very first film shows Baba being interviewed by follower and biographer
Charles Purdom, in London 1932. It was made by Paramount News for the
cinema newsreels of the day.
However, the bulk of the films were made by members of His mandali
whilst Baba went about His work. Usually the camera was operated by
Dr Goher Irani, sometimes by Mani Irani, Adi Snr and on occasion byMehera.
All of these films allow us see the Avatar’s spiritual work at first hand.
1932 Paramount News
1967 Beyond Words
In 1967 Dutch filmmaker Louis van Gasteren made the only 35mm sound colour film
of Baba, 'Beyond Words'. Baba came out of seclusion for three hours to be filmed.
Eruch can be seen and heard interpreting Baba's exquisite hand gestures. This was
the last film made of Meher Baba.
Over 50 years ago Delia de Leon started to collect the mandali's films of Baba. This
collection was passed to Pete Townshend who in 1990 set up the Meher Baba Film
Archive International, in Norwich, UK. The MBF is curated by Richard O'Casey and it is
the principle organisation responsible for the very long term conservation (700 years)
of Meher Baba films.
From this collection 'O Parvadigar' was created with beautiful film
of Meher Baba edited
to a soundtrack of
The Master's Prayer, put to music and performed
The MBF website is www.meherbabafilm.com . It contains many wonderful clips
of Baba plus information about the Renovations process.
There are various websites where you can view and purchase films of Meher Baba, including:
MEHER FILMWORKS - a website devoted to quality video presentations of Avatar Meher Baba - His life, His image and His mission.
Two films have been produced: GOD IN HUMAN FORM and YOU ALONE EXIST: www.meherfilmworks.org