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Biography

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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 1892
Date of Death 18 May 1940Bombay, British India

Mini Bio (1)

Himansu Rai was born in 1892. He was a producer and actor, known for Throw of the Dice (1929), Prem Sanyas (1925) and Shiraz (1929). He was married to Devika Rani. He died on May 18, 1940 in Bombay, British India.

Spouse (1)

Devika Rani (1929 - 1940) (his death)

Trivia (5)

Credited with bringing technical sophistication to Indian cinema, Rai was among one of the earliest Indian filmmakers that collaborated with European filmmakers to improve the quality of Indian filmmaking using foreign technical knowledge and equipment.
Rai was born into a wealthy Bengali family. He studied Law at the University of Calcutta and studied with Tagore at Shantiniketan. While training as a lawyer in London in the early 1920s, he began acting in plays, amongst them the talented playwright Niranjan Pal's 'The Goddess' and Prem Sanyas (1925).
In London Rai had met Devika Rani who designed film sets and who continued to work with him. The two got married and in 1933, and when Rai joined forces with IBP of England and wholly produced Fate (1933), a bilingual in English and Hindi, he cast Devika Rani as the film. But the Nazi seizure of power in Germany caused Rai to abandon international co-productions and so he decided to concentrate on the domestic film market in India.
In 1934, Rai formed Bombay Talkies Ltd. and built a studio. Under his painstaking supervision, it purchased the most modern equipment from Germany. Director Franz Osten and a handful of technicians came down from England and Germany to work with him. By 1935, a stream of Hindi productions had begun to emerge from the studio.
The advent of World War II meant that the studio's German technicians as well as director Franz Osten were interned by the British, which crippled the studio. Overwork and mental strain eventually took its toll on Rai, who suffered a nervous breakdown which he never recovered from, and he died in 1940.

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