In the lush countryside of a rural Indian village, a timeless story of forbidden love unfolds.
Lila is a carefree, happy, girl who is completely devoted to Krishna. Her mother is a master teacher of classical Indian dance, and a devadasi — an Indian temple dancer wed to a Hindu god. Under her mother’s watchful eye, and instruction, Lila soon becomes a dancer of spellbinding depth. But in this traditional Indian village, temple dancers are looked down upon, and Lila and her mother find themselves on the fringes of society, struggling to make ends meet.
Shyam, a village boy of the lowest caste, hopes to become a sculptor so he can escape to a better life in the city. He asks Lila to model for him and she agrees, even though she knows that if they are discovered together both their lives will be in jeopardy. They meet in secret, and Shyam creates a statue of Lila in the form of the goddess Saraswati. The more time they spend together, the more Lila is drawn to him. Thoughts of Shyam begin to permeate Lila’s fantasy world, her dancing, and even her devotion.
Subha, the village headman, has been tasked with finding Prakash, the young rich landlord of the village, a wife – and Prakash sets his gaze on Lila. When Lila and Shyam’s relationship is discovered by Subha, Lila faces a terrible decision, and must find a way to save herself, her mother, and her love without sacrificing her own happiness.
Acclaimed writer/director Khyentse Norbu (The Cup, Travellers and Magicians) seamlessly intertwines the story with vivid dreamworlds of Hindu gods, classical Indian dance, and haunting music to create a sensual and unforgettable world.