Filmmaker Raphael Treza embarked on a captivating journey to northern India, immersing himself in the vibrant world of the ancient Kalbeliya tribe for three mesmerizing months. Cobra Gypsies documents this enriching expedition, shedding light on the spirited and colorful customs of the Kalbeliyas.

Despite their limited exposure to foreigners, the Kalbeliyas warmly welcome Treza into their midst, eagerly sharing their culture and way of life. The film captures their remarkable resilience and adaptability in the face of the challenging environment that surrounds them, from navigating bee swarms to encountering venomous lizards.

A focal point of the documentary is the tribe’s relationship with the cobra, a dominant symbol of their identity. Treza accompanies them on cobra hunts, witnessing their skillful handling of these revered reptiles, which are often depleted of their venom and displayed for profit or incorporated into ceremonial dances.

Music resonates deeply within Kalbeliya culture, as evidenced by the exuberant festivities of an annual music festival. Through vibrant dance and pulsating beats, the community honors the name of Krishna with unrestrained joy and celebration.

The film also offers a glimpse into the intricacies of Kalbeliya weddings, where colorful rituals and lively dancing unite families and communities in enduring bonds of love and tradition.

Cobra Gypsies provides a rare and intimate portrayal of a way of life seldom captured on film. Treza’s unobtrusive approach allows viewers to immerse themselves fully in the Kalbeliya experience, offering a fleeting yet profound glimpse into their world.

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