That association led to the making of a film, The Light of Asia, which he co-directed with Franz Osten. Rai was also one of the main actors in this film. While making his third film, Prapancha Pash, he met and fell in love with Devika Rani, a great-grandniece of the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Before this film was complete, he married her.
‘LIGHT OF ASIA’..SILENT FILM ON BUDDHA!: Manoj Kulkarni
On today’s Buddha Purnima I remembered one of early landmark films from the history of our Indian cinema and that is ‘The Light of Asia’ which focused on the rise of Buddhism!
‘Great Eastern Film Corporation’ made this film with the cooperation of Maharaja of Jaipur in 1925. It tells the story about our Indian Prince Siddharth – Gautam who became the Buddha! This film was based on the book.
‘The Light of Asia’ by English writer Edwin Arnold who also wrote the screenplay of it with our Indian playwright Niranjan Pal.
Notable that the founder of ‘Bombay Talkies’ legend Himansu Rai got his first assignment with this film as co-director and..Bavarian filmmaker Franz – Osten was his associate for it! And Himansu’s wife actress Devika Rani did the set decoration for it!
Himanshu Rai, one of the pioneers of Indian cinema, is best known as the founder of the studio in 1934, along with Devika Rani. He was associated with a number of movies, including Goddess, The Light of Asia, Shiraz, A Throw of Dice, and Karma. He was married to actress Devika Rani Chaudhuri.Himanshu Rai was Born into an aristocratic Bengali family in Cuttack in 1892, (Odisha) he spent several years in Santiniketan for his schooling. After obtaining a law degree from Kolkata, he went to London to become a barrister. There, he met a playwright and screenwriter Niranjan Pal.
The shooting of this film took place in Jaipur and..in Lahore (now in Pakistan). German cameramen Josef Wirsching & Willi Kiermeier did the cinematography for this!
Bengali artists. Sarada Ukil acted as King Suddhodhana & Rani Bala as Queen Maya in it. With them, Anglo Indian Renee Smith who was named as ‘Seeta Devi’ appeared as Gopa..And Himansuji got the main role of.. Gautam in this film!
This well-made and critically acclaimed film first released in India on 22nd October, 1925 and then in USA on 11th May, 1928.
Tribute to this early work of our cinema!!