TIFF Review: ‘Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator’

Eva Orner delivers a pre-#MeToo tale for the #MeToo era

2 mins read

Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator
(USA, 82 min.)
Dir. Eva Orner
Programme: TIFF Docs (World Premiere)

Eva Orner delivers a pre-#MeToo tale for the #MeToo movement with Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator. The film is an incisive, no holds-barred doc that holds a sexual predator accountable for his actions and gives voice to the survivors of his crimes. It’s a brave and bold collection of stories about hot yoga guru Bikram Choudhury, the yogi in the black undies and gold Rolex, that exposes him as the idiot, predator, misogynist and rapist he is.

Orner, who won an Oscar for producing Alex Gibney’s Taxi to the Dark Side and has directed docs like Chasing Asylum, covers all her bases while telling this story with an unabashed point of view. Her access to archival materials is most impressive and she users a cottage of photos, social media videos, and clandestine footage to take audiences inside Choudhury’s hugely popular hot yoga franchise. The prize pig of the film might be the hilarious footage of Choudhury’s testimony during an inquiry in which he drops one terrible bald-faced lie after another, proving every interviewee’s point that he is a colossally stupid idiot despite his charismatic appeal and empire

The masterful editing by Kimberley Hassett and Forrest Borie reveals Choudhury’s true nature as the film endorses him to audiences in the first act, shocks them with his behavior in the second, and fires them up with pissed of rage in the finale as Orner and her interviewees call for justice. He can flee the authorities, but the doc affords a sense of justice for the women where the courts failed them.

Visit the POV TIFF Hub for more coverage from this year’s festival

Check back for our interview with Orner when Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator hits Netflix later this year!

Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

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