Beyond Abbey Road
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A new feature film by an Indian-American producer captures the enigma of Brian Epstein, the controversial manager of The Beatles
New York-based TV producer Vivek J Tiwary is not your average Beatles fan, who lives in your imagination. He is rather imaginative himself. His interest in the band stretches beyond the virtuoso of the four mop-top styled boys from Liverpool singing their simple, yet relentlessly provocative numbers. He doesn't settle with the band; instead explores Brian Epstein, the band's manager for six years and his life around The Beatles. He is busy putting finishing touches to his first feature film — The Fifth Beatle — on Epstein's life. The excitement is palpable as he has just secured "ironclad rights" to the original music of The Beatles, for the film. "We have secured rights for using 12 tracks from band's music. These include tracks like All You Need Is Love, You've Got to Hide Your Love Away, A Day in the Life and Yesterday," says 38-year-old Indian-origin filmmaker from Patterson, New York, who is the script writer and the chief producer of the film. These rights were secured by him after a two-and-a-half year struggle.
The film is significant since it is the only film about The Beatles, after the 2009 film, Nowhere Boy, to feature the original music, instead of the cover versions. Tiwary has focussed on the last six years of Epstein's life before his death in 1967, and has narrated those through a mix of history, dream sequences and allegory. Epstein, who was one of the most successful managers for the Beatles, was a closet homosexual and died of a sedative overdose. "What struck me about Epstein was the human side of his story and not just his music-handling skills. He was a homosexual Jew from Liverpool, which was not a cultural mecca at that time. So, for him to say that he would change the world through music, was an outrageous attempt at being adventurous," explains Tiwary, who began flirting with the idea of the film five years ago. A successful producer of recent Broadway musicals, like The Addams Family and American Idiot, which premiered last year, Tiwary "decided it was time to tell and produce his own story".
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