What is Rasa?

Documentary filmmaking is like a dance, filled with unexpected moments and yet art merges through it, as if the camera does the dance, and the filmmaker is the tool for the bhava to paint the picture into the lense.


Yogini Temple, Orissa, India


ROMANSKI FILMS has set up production on Kauai to film the internationally known dancer from Rajasthan, India, Colleena Shakti. She is tall and walks with ease of of not only a dancer, but a sculptured piece of art carved into the temple walls of Orissa. She holds at the edge of her field the seeds of an ancient tradition from India, Odissi-dance. It is with respect and integrity to the dance and her guru that keeps her field of curiosity as an artist fresh and potent. What we are to discover is Odissi dance is an act of devotion. What she captures is a cacophony of colors and shapes like a breathe of fresh air, within a blink of an eye, one is mesmerized by watching her; but who is she?


Colleena Shakti, Orissa, India

Bhava is the space or span of free energy, when the mind is empty. It where spirit and matter meet. This pure energy is what makes a film have Rasa! It’s day two filming Colleena, as she teaches this sacred dance from India, called Odissi.  The dance is a mythological story of gods and goddess, inbued with folklore from the ancient days of temple dancing. Playing with light and soft movements of the camera’s aperature, the element of surprise keeps the camera rolling and the camera crew filled with bhava. There is a sense of tension, during the classes, as sweat drips from the crest of one of the students chin, and a limping leg from another student bends her into the edge of giving up; but the women push through, like the seed that sprouts into a tree. Colleena has bridged the western world of attachment to form with the eastern principles of developing a disciplined mind, teaching that dance is a way for creating deeper inner understanding of our limitless capabilities. In fact for Collena, it is the only way.

As with most of Romanski Films documentary projects, stepping into the unknown is the key to our creativity, unfolding with wit, humor and bhava – filming is a dance. Rasa is the thread. The art form goes beyond the camera – the art becomes the artist, like the lotus, rising above the constraints of the mind – what unfolds is spirit – symbolically speaking.

This is an amazing project about the life of a western women, awakened into her true bhava, which she found through Odissi dance. The essence of Rasa – like hot flames – come alive as she steps aside, and the Odissi dance moves through her – this is what feeds the soul of those that watch her. When we taste the fruits of life, rasa bears this fruit which only tears of gratitude can fill this void.

Tribal in essence, but organic and raw when juxtaposition against the ancient temples of India, the only element that has been lost is our connection to the Mother. To the land. To the temples. To the devidasi’s that held this devotional dance to the Gods and Goddesses with such innocence and vulnerability, it is only the beauty of love that can keep it alive.

Life moves through her like a dance. She comes alive when performing Odissi; nothing stands in between her and the essence of devotion. The freshness of her spirit, and losing everything to the dance is intoxicating. The camera doesn’t stop rolling……….action, take 5!


Colleena Shakti - The Art of Odissi Dance

Descending into the Art of Odissi Dance

Romanski films has set out to Kauai to film the internationally known dancer Colleena Shakti, from Ragasthan, India. We have brought India to Kauai, filming at an Indian-esque temple. Every corner and stream of sun light carving a cinemaphotographer’s canvas of beauty. We are developing a short documentary on Odissi dance and the art of devotion. Day 1, the story is beginning to unfold as women from around the US come to study with this unique and talented woman. First morning begins with Sanskrit chanting…… and choka…..