Netflix Original Documentary “Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator” (2019) Exposes Yoga Scandal
Calling all documentary junkies: here’s a new film you have got to watch. Netflix is releasing “Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator” on November 20th, 2019. The 86 minute film is directed by Oscar-winning producer Eva Orner (of Taxi to the Dark Side, 2017) and exposes the biggest yoga scandal and the man behind it all – Bikram Choudhury.
Bikram Choudhury, the founder of “hot yoga”, was an Indian immigrant in Beverly Hills. He introduced hot yoga and taught celebrities such as Shirley MacLaine and Quincy Jones. In short, he made a huge fortune in a very short period of time. He was on every front paper in the 1970’s – but was it all good publicity? The documentary shines a light on his rise to fame and riches, but of course, that’s not all that was uncovered.
Right from the get go, we hear Bikram’s narration juxtaposed with multiple clips from his yoga students ranting about his methods. Bikram calls himself “a cross between Mother Teresa and Howard Stern”. His students, however, have come forward and claims that Bikram has sexually assaulted and raped them on numerous occasions. The film documents Bikram’s students and how they went from idolizing him to fearing for their own well being. Bikram used his practice as a manipulation tool. He verbally abused his students to the point where they believed that without him and his teachings, they would be nothing. Toxic relationships are brought to light and accusations against Bikram were publicized.
Netflix explores “the contradiction of how this [hot yoga] could simultaneously help and hurt so many”. Lawsuits started to pile against Bikram and he decided to flee the country. His yoga empire stands before him and it seems like he’s gotten away with all his crimes.
Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator was screened at the 21st annual Mumbai Film Festival this year. Bollywood star, Deepika Padukone, started the night with a speech. “Cinema has the power to make you feel not lonely when you are… Cinema has the ability to break preconceptions and open our eyes… I say we need this now more than ever before”.
Orner’s documentary deserves to be talked about. Bikram is a villain, masked as a healer. To learn more about the film ahead of it’s release, check out www.netflix.com/bikram.