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Prem Sanyas (1925)

This adaptation of Arnold's 1861 Orientalist epic opens with documentary shots of tourists in Bombay watching street performers. Then a white-bearded old man sitting under the bodhi tree ... See full summary »


Franz Osten, Himanshu Rai (as Himansu Rai)


Edwin Arnold (story), Niranjan Pal




Credited cast:
Seeta Devi ... Gopa
Himanshu Rai ... Gautama (as Himansu Rai)
Sarada Ukil Sarada Ukil ... King Suddhodhana
Ranibala Ranibala ... Queen Maya (as Rani Bala)
Prafulla Roy Prafulla Roy ... Devadatta
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Modhu Bose Modhu Bose
Mrinalini Devi Mrinalini Devi
Sunalini Devi Sunalini Devi
Sushil Ghosh Sushil Ghosh
Sundar Rajam Sundar Rajam
Ekambi 'Wilhelm' Tongo Ekambi 'Wilhelm' Tongo
Learn more

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This adaptation of Arnold's 1861 Orientalist epic opens with documentary shots of tourists in Bombay watching street performers. Then a white-bearded old man sitting under the bodhi tree tells the tourists the story of Gautama (Rai), son of King Suddodhana (Ukil) and Queen Maya (Bala), who left his consort Gopa (Seeta) and became a wandering teacher credited with founding Buddhism. The religious epic, with its idealized figures, takes up the narrative in flashback and ends with Gopa kneeling before Gautama asking to become his disciple. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Sumptuous Dramatization of the Life of Gautama Buddha Filmed in India at command of The Maharajah of Jaipur (Print Ad-Sunday Star, ((Washington DC)) 18 March 1928)




Did You Know?


Made its American premiere (as "The Light of Asia") at the Little theatre in Washington DC on 17 March 1928) (Evening Star,((Washington DC)) 17 March 1928) See more »


Featured in The Story of India: The Power of Ideas (2007) See more »

User Reviews

Indian Tradition
23 March 2007 | by FerdinandVonGalitzienSee all my reviews

People, even aristocrats (yes, we are almost people though more elegant and distinguished), always have had a special interest in discovering different cultures. They delight in being astonished by singular customs, strange habits and alluring scenery. "Prem Sanyas" delivers all this and will enlighten the most curious of the long haired people as it is an exotic film with curious origins ( a German-Indian film production ) . It narrates the story of Buddha ( a kind of Luther for the people of that part of the world ) and his childhood and youth at the palace of his father where the young man is kept secluded in a kind of golden prison, carefully shielded against such sorrows of the world as poverty, illness and all those other terrible things that this German Count knows thanks to some interesting articles read in "The Aristocratic Und Teutonic Encyclopaedia About The World Outside The Schlöss".

The film, in addition to depicting Buddha's life, also functions as a kind of documentary about those exotic habits and customs of Indian tradition. It is a very beautiful film with plenty of dazzling, splendorous images filmed in incredible settings and with superb cinematography, bewitching the audience from the very start of the film. It may be a German film co-production, but the actors are all Indian. There is respect and admiration for this culture so different from the West. The director avoids typical Western manipulation and its tendency to be merely picturesque and that's the most important achievement of this film.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must return back to Deutsch land from India but this time this aristocrat won't travel by elegant carriage but by elephant.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/

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India | Germany

Release Date:

11 May 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Light of Asia See more »

Filming Locations:

Jaipur, Rajasthan, India See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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