Samsara (2001 film)

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Samsara film.jpg
film poster
Directed byPan Nalin
Produced byFandango / Ocean Films Distribution / Pandora Film / Paradis Films
Written byPan Nalin & Tim Baker
StarringShawn Ku & Christy Chung & Neelesha BaVora
Music byCyril Morin, Dadon
Release date
Running time
138 minutes

Samsara is a 2001 independent Indian/Italian/French/German film which tells the story of a Buddhist monk's quest to find Enlightenment.[1] The film stars Shawn Ku as the monk Tashi, and Christy Chung as Pema. It was directed by Pan Nalin and written by Pan and Tim Baker.


Tashi (Shawn Ku) began his training as a Buddhist monk at the age of five. Twenty years later, he emerges from a three-year solitary meditation, for which he is awarded the degree of khenpo by the rinpoche. When Tashi begins to have wet dreams, his relationships at the temple become strained. On an official visit, he stays with a farmer and meets Pema, the farmer's daughter. He leaves monastic life, returning to the farm, where he joins the migrant workers for the harvest. After another encounter with Pema, they marry. They later have a son, Karma (Tenzin Tashi).

The ex-lama becomes a farmer and landowner, becoming financially successful by bringing the harvest to the city instead of selling to the local merchant Dawa (Lhakpa Tsering), who cheats the local farmers. This puts him at odds with Jamayang (Kelsang Tashi), Pema's former fiancee and local stonemason, who resents Tashi for damaging the long-standing relationship between the people of the valley and Dawa.

Tashi is at odds with his sexuality and an attraction to Sujata, a migrant worker who returns to the farm to labor each year. While Pema goes to the city to sell their harvest, he and Sujata have sex. He's told that this was something Sujata and Pema have talked about for years. His friend from his time as a lama comes to visit, and informs Tashi that their mentor, Apo, has died. Racked with guilt over his infidelity and the death of Apo, Tashi leaves the farm to return to the monastery.


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