hot for nirvana

Imagine being a male born into a spiritual ashram that advocates celibacy. His single motivating passion for the past 30 years has been to attain enlightenment – nirvana. Until one day, he meets her…

Inspired by writer/director Rob Bruner’s own life growing up in a celibate religious sect, Hot for Nirvana is a romantic comedy with a very original twist. It is the story of Arjuna, a celibate Hare Krishna-like monk who falls for Nirvana, an exotic dancer.


Arjuna is a thirty year old, celibate white male with an Indian name. How did this happen? Back in the 70’s, the “Gauras” - an oddball, eastern mystical sect - was formed when Arjuna’s mother and a few hippy friends met Guru Ramagaura during their travels to India. Returning to the west, they recruited hundreds of followers by dancing on the streets – Krishna style. They soon set up shop in the BC Kootenays, sheltered by beauty and far from worldly temptations. And Arjuna was born.

Touted a possible successor to his Guru, Arjuna survived the wet-dreams of puberty as both ashram hero and mascot. His aim has always been set firmly on the target of enlightenment – nirvana. One day a letter arrives - for the first time, their reclusive Guru is coming to visit!  But Arjuna sees trouble in paradise:  with guru style cults out of fashion, they’ve dwindled to a shadow of their former glory, leaving behind a ragtag collection of disciples, many of whom, were they not there, would likely be dead or in prison. Emulating his warrior namesake, he takes it upon himself to convince his older, complacent brethren to bolster their stock by dancing once more in the big city.

His first time back as an adult, Arjuna is a rock - unmoved by the city’s promise of excitement and pleasure.  Until… dancing up an evangelical storm at a downtown celebration of Indian culture – Arjuna is stopped cold when he sees Gita – an Indian demigoddess electrifying her way through a classical dance.  When their eyes lock, his base chakra explodes. Frightened and confused, Arjuna tries to bolt - but fate has other plans: Gita’s whimsical choreographer Howard Leonard, wowed by the intensity of Arjuna’s devotional dance, wants him to star in their upcoming show – “The Dance of the Gopis”.  Arjuna refuses - but mom, harbouring a secret guilt that Arjuna hasn’t seen enough of the real world, says go: bringing our dance to the city will surely bring fresh recruits to the master.    

On the surface, Arjuna is a spiritual fish out of water, inside a terrified adolescent in lust.

Howard’s dance, more sensual than spiritual, puts Arjuna face to face with his fears. Yet something about his innocence strikes Gita. He’s unlike anyone she’s ever known, and when they dance together – there’s a chemistry neither can deny. Even while being guarded and spied on by his three Gaura brothers – a funny and likable trio whose worldly vices quickly come back to haunt them – an unlikely romance starts to bud.

Meanwhile, Gita juggles being a dedicated dancer and responsible family girl with a dark secret: jaded by love, she works nights letting off her sexual steam stripping – and makes a pretty penny for it.  To complicate matters, her gregarious strip club boss has just proposed.  Oblivious to all this, pushed and pulled by his emotions, Arjuna finally admits what he fears most:  he is in love. It’s in this vulnerable state that Arjuna discovers a truth about Gita that shatters his fantasy and shakes him to the very core of his spiritual foundation:  she’s no goddess, she’s an exotic dancer called “Nirvana”. 

Does Arjuna listen to his judgments or his heart?  Can he attain nirvana with Nirvana? Hot and bothered, he must discern between love, spirituality and lust.

In the midst of it all – the Guru is coming and the dance must go on…

Hot For Nirvana, a feature film screenplay, has been developed with support from Telefilm Canada, CHUM, BC Film, CFC and the Harold Greenberg Fund.  It is slated for production in 2017 through co-producer WJ Productions.