Bikram Choudhury was at the forefront of popularizing yoga in North America and around the world. An Indian immigrant with a Beverly Hills base, Choudhury was a born entertainer, known for dressing in nothing more than a black speedo and a Rolex. His teaching style was tough love sprinkled with salty language and punctuated by spontaneous bursts of singing. His followers hailed him for helping them to gain confidence, lose weight, and overcome physical ailments through his specialty of hot yoga. He built a franchise empire with hundreds of Bikram studios around the world. Filmmaker Eva Orner traces Choudhury from his rise in the 1970s to his disgrace in accusations of rape and sexual harassment in more recent years. She taps a vast trove of archival footage that demonstrates Choudhury's charm and offers clues to his dark side. She conducts extensive interviews with his one-time acolytes who now feel betrayed, including yoga devotee Sarah Baughn who brought serious charges against him ...Written by
Toronto International Film Festival
The fact that anyone still attends this gross predator's yoga workshops is beyond me. Before even hearing the accusations against him, I found Bikram's demeanor and presence to be awkward and unsettling. With the accusations though...? I was interested enough in this documentary to see it through to the end, but I would have liked to have better understood why so many people were captivated by Bikram as a yoga instructor. No one could really explain that. Not someone I'd want to take a single yoga class with let alone be isolated with at teacher training. If you're interested in cults, this documentary will interest you, because essentially he's a cult leader.
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