“She lived in the forests of old and danced for God and God alone. But what happened when God decided she was ready for the final test?”

A beautiful dancer lives deep in the forest and has taken a vow to dance for God and God alone. She comes to His notice in the heavens above and He decides she is ready for the final test. He comes back down to earth disguised as a mortal traveler and leaves a magic lamp for her to find. They ‘accidentally’ meet in the forest and she tells Him she dances only for God. When she later finds the lamp she is mesmerised by its beauty and falls into a deep sleep. In her dreams, she falls in love with the stranger she just met, and forgets her vows. She dances for the stranger and becomes his lover. Her promise to dance for God and God alone completely forgotten
However on waking, she finds she is transported to a desperate, lost and barren landscape, her lover disappeared… her innocence, too. All is gone - and she must now face her alone-ness and find a way out of this dark night of her soul…

  • Tanmayo music&visuals
  • Tanmayo music&visuals
    Musical Score
  • Tanmayo music&visuals
  • Sandra Jasmin and Tanmayo
    Idea and concept
  • Sandra Jasmine
    Key Cast
  • Tanmayo
    Musical performance - violin, voice, backing
  • Parijat
    Soundtrack Mastering
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Fantasy, Religious, Mystical, Dance
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes 21 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 21, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • New Wave Short Film Festival 2021
  • Tokyo International Short Film Festival 2021
  • Toronto International Women Film Festival 2021
    Official Selection
  • Munich Music Video Awards 2021
  • Feel the Reel International Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    Winner - Best Experimental Film March 2021
  • Feel the Reel International Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    Winner - Best Original Score March 2021
Director Biography - Tanmayo music&visuals

The creator of ‘Bayadere’, Tanmayo, was brought up in the North of Scotland and studied classical violin and piano from an early age. From there, she moved to Edinburgh and became involved in the traditional storytelling scene before moving to India where she lived for almost 10 years - for the most part as a kind of ‘modern monk’ where meditation was the central focus of her life. Parallel to this ‘inner life’ however, she also toured the world with various bands as a singer and instrumentalist (including playing for Paul McCartney’s wedding) and in addition, has 6 solo CD’s to her name. On turning 50 however, by accident, she found a camera in her hand and… it was love at first sight! From that first moment, she threw herself passionately into learning all she could about film making, realising that finally here was a medium where she could bring all the various strands of her creativity together.

‘Bayadere’ is Tanmayo’s debut short film - both as director, musical score composer, cinematographer and editor and brings together her passions for cinematography, storytelling, music and poem all together in one fantasy filled creation. It is set in the witchy forests and rolling hills of a pretty-much-unknown part of Central Germany where she has made her home.

Her dream is to direct a large scale film production bringing together heart stirring music with archetypal visual elements from nature and myth - a piece of cinema that will work like an ancient call to people’s souls - awakening essential longings and leading the viewer to a vast and powerful space of centered-ness and quiet within.

The next step on that journey is learning how to write a screen play. :-)

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

A wonderful Indian dancer friend of mine - Sandra Jasmin - asked me if I would like to apply for a local competition for artists, musicians and film makers titled ‘People in Crisis’ and we were fortunate to be picked as winners. At the outset, the film was planned to be a short 5 minute video - where the poem of ‘God and the Bayadere’ by the poet Goethe would be spoken over music and the story told in symbolic dance moves.

However, when entering into the story I realised what an amazingly rich and multi-faceted inspiration it was and thus what had originally been planned grew in an organic way into what it is now - a fully fledged short story-based film.

The essence of the story appealed deeply to me because it deals with the alchemical transformation of the human heart in the face of adversity and touches on essential archetypal themes of love, loss, innocence and maturity. For many years I have been on a search for ’truth’ spending a substantial amount of my life devoted to meditation practice and personal growth work - and it has been my own experience that the divine is closest when I allow myself to feel and accept deeply all it is to be human - both the light, and the dark. I have also experienced that it is the ‘feminine’ qualities of patience, open-ness, quiet, devotion, prayer and love that are those that bring me closest to my essential ‘Self’.

In the original poem, the dancer is a sacred ‘temple’ prostitute, tricked by God into falling in love and thus breaking her vows.The poem ends with her throwing herself on the funeral pyre of her ‘lover’ but being saved and pulled up from the flames into the heavens in the last moment by God himself…
I wished to portray a more ‘updated’ version of the tale however, especially steering away from the now illegal Indian tradition of ‘Sati’ where a women would traditionally throw herself on the funeral pyre of her husband.

Thus the main character is an innocent dancer living deep in an ancient forest, who is totally devoted to God.
In the end of the story, rather than following her lover into the funeral pyre, it is through meeting her own pain and desperation that ‘awakening’ happens and from that centre within herself, she is ready to jump into the fire of Truth and ascends to ‘infinity’ but on her ‘own’ - without the help of the God.
She is ‘surrender itself’ - simply one - one with all…
The God has disappeared… and only the divine remains.

As this was my first short film, it was a huge learning curve and I met many challenges along the way - from just exactly how to tell the ‘story’, to the question of how to depict ‘God’, to how to show the dancer throwing herself into the fire and then ascending into heaven. (without anyone getting burnt). :-) Although I’m familiar with the composition and creation of music, it was nevertheless the first time I had created a musical sound track and in addition, trying to recreate the piece of ‘Indian music’ which appears in the dream scene, was a huge job.
I was very grateful for the creative input and suggestions from Sandra Jasmin who plays Bayadere in the film. She not only played the character with such grace and passion but was also greatly involved in the choice of setting, use of props and in adapting the original poem for the screen.

This film is unusual in that there is very little dialogue involved. A narrator appears at the start to set the scene for the story to unfold and various parts of the story are also supported through the lyrics of the songs but in the main, the story is told through music, visuals and dance.

Ultimately, I wish this film to show in a positive light the transformation that is possible within ourselves when we face our fears, go through our deepest pain and loss and thus come out the other side, where a true awakening in the ‘fire of consciousness’ is possible.

It seems fitting that this film was created in the time of Covid when so many in the world have been forced to face both fear and loss and I hope that it may provide a light and inspiration as we continue to travel through these challenging times.