Coming soon —Rinpoche’s third feature film
Postproduction on Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s third feature film Vara: A Blessing, was recently completed in Taiwan. A release date has not yet been announced. For all things Vara, including news, interviews, and amazing photos, visit the film’s website: www.varathemovie.com.

A truly international project, Vara was filmed in Sri Lanka featuring a mostly Indian cast, including rising Bollywood star Shahana Goswami as Lila, the film’s central character. Vara brought together an impressive array of filmmakers from around the world, including award-winning American cinematographer Bradford Young, renowned Hong Kong-based film editor William Chang, and London-based composer Nitin Sawhney.

Set in an Indian village that has not yet caught up to the modern world, Vara seamlessly intertwines vivid dream worlds of Hindu gods, classical bharatanatyam dance, and music. It’s a timeless story of love and devotion.

Vara Volunteers

Rinpoche is very focused on engaging with young Buddhists, guiding the next generation of Buddhist practitioners by relating to them in a uniquely informal manner. Five volunteers on Vara were second-generation students of Rinpoche’s, and a number of them were offered to Rinpoche as “free labor” .

“My father is very vocal about the fact that he’s offered me and my brother to Rinpoche,” jokes Chime Dorjee, a Bhutanese-Londoner who is spending her gap year working for Rinpoche before taking a job at a law firm. Actually, she was given a choice in the matter and leapt at the opportunity to work for him.

“I feel really lucky. My mom said it’s because of my merit that I get to work here, and I actually feel the same way,” says Joie Chen, who is working as a production assistant and shooting behind-the-scenes footage about the making of the film. She trains her lens on Ed Lin, who was offered by his mother as a camera intern, and asks, “How does it feel to be a donation?”

“I’m happy to be here, and I’ve learned a lot,” says Lin. “But I’m not sure if I’m a good donation.”

“I think he’s a great donation,” counters Joie. “He’s like one of those donations that seems like a gag gift but turns out to be so useful even though it still makes you laugh.”

Visit the new website for the film.
Follow Vara on Facebook and Twitter
Rinpoche is Tweeting his thoughts about film and filmmaking.
Photo of actress Shahana Goswami by Pawo Choyning Dorji