Unexpected artivism: The fabulatory function in Kumaré

Ilona Hongisto*, Toni Pape

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article addresses artivism in Vikram Gandhi's 2011 documentary film Kumaré: The True Story of a False Prophet. The documentary tells the story of the fake guru Kumaré (played by Gandhi) who sets out to prove that spiritual leaders are illusions and that the power of self-transformation lies within the individual. Gandhi's intention of revealing the illusory quality of representation in religion forms the more conventional artivist arc of the documentary. The documentary's self-help narrative is, however, challenged by the filmmaking process that creates an unexpected relational field extending well beyond Gandhi's intentions. The article elaborates on unintentional relationality through the notion of fabulation and argues for an ethics that foregrounds collective creativity and questions individualistic self-transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-83
Number of pages15
JournalStudies in Documentary Film
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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