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Netflix Documentary on Yoga Guru Bikram Choudhury Explores How a Man Got Away with Sexual Harrassment

Academy Award winner filmmaker Eva Orner's new documentary Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator traces the life of hot yoga teacher who has been accused of multiple sexual assault cases.

News18.com

Updated:November 20, 2019, 8:13 PM IST
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Netflix Documentary on Yoga Guru Bikram Choudhury Explores How a Man Got Away with Sexual Harrassment
Academy Award winner filmmaker Eva Orner's new documentary Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator traces the life of hot yoga teacher who has been accused of multiple sexual assault cases.

Academy Award-winning director Eva Orner's latest documentary film Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, premieres on Netflix today. The film deals with hot yoga teacher Bikram Choudhury, who created an empire and was accused of multiple charges of sexual harassment, rape charges, deceit and maniacal control over his followers.

Bikram Choudhary is a yogi from Kolkata, who, after winning yoga championships in India, migrated to the US through Japan and got a green-card after talks with then-President Richard Nixon. He then gradually created a super successful empire with his technique called Bikram Yoga, a 26 step set performed in approximately 120-degrees Fahrenheit temperature.

Society's constant urge to chase optimum fitness made Hollywood's many celebrities become his clients and soon Bikram owned a fortune of reportedly $75 million and a fleet of 43 luxury cars, something that also enabled him to get away with serial sexual harassment allegations.

According to the documentary, the yoga teacher would hold special teacher training programs, that would cost $10,000 per session. These nine-week-long held in secluded locations were where Bikram would reportedly sexually assault his followers. Moreover, he would also exert a lot of manipulation over most of his students by not allowing them to open their own clinics without his permission and other measures.

The documentary uses years of archival footage, as well as first-person testimonials from his survivours, especially Larissa Anderson and Sarah Baughn, the two main voices of the film. When the filmmaker set out to make Bikram, she did not think that it would be a #MeToo film. “This is a pre #MeToo story that’s being told in a post #MeToo world, and he got away with it, which is chilling,” Orner told the Guardian in an interview.

Orner had started the process in 2017, a few months before the New York Times article exposing Harvey Weinstein came out. Bikram was also one of the names that came out during the movement.

In the 86 minute-long documentary, Orner traces the life of Bikram from his life in Kolkata to becoming America's elite. The documentary also deals with Bikram's infamous narcissism and his claims of having coached Elvis Presley and saved Richard Nixon from a leg amputation. The film is said to be a haunting account of how the man got away from his crimes.

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