Prem Sanyas

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Prem Sanyas (The Light of Asia)
Seeta Devi and Himansu Rai in Prem Sanyas (2).jpg
Seeta Devi and Himanshu Rai in the film
Directed byFranz Osten
Himansu Rai
Produced byGreat Eastern Film Corporation
Münchner Lichtspielkunst AG
Written byEdwin Arnold (story)
Niranjan Pal (screenplay)
StarringSeeta Devi
Himansu Rai
Sarada Ukil
Music byHansheinrich Dransmann
CinematographyWilli Kiermeier
and Josef Wirsching.
Color processBlack and white
Distributed byMünchner Lichtspielkunst AG
Great Eastern Film Corporation
Release date
  • 22 October 1925 (1925-10-22) (Germany)
  • 5 July 2001 (2001-07-05) (restored version)
Running time
97 min
CountryWeimar Republic
India Logo.png Search Prem Sanyas on Amazon.

The Light of Asia

Prem Sanyas (The Light of Asia) (Die Leuchte Asiens in German) is a 1925 silent film, directed by Franz Osten and Himansu Rai. It was adapted from the book, The Light of Asia (1879) in verse, by Edwin Arnold, based on the life of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who founded Buddhism by becoming the Buddha or the "Enlightened one".


The film was an Indo-European co-production,[1] with German technicians and Indian actors, and it managed to steer clear of the usual exotic depiction of Indian culture favoured by western filmmakers up until then. It was made with the cooperation of the Maharajah of Jaipur and contained a cast of thousands. Shooting took place in Lahore, in what is now Pakistan, where the set decoration was created by Devika Rani, the wife of actor/director Himanshu Rai and a noted actress herself. The film was released in the USA by the Film Arts Guild on 11 May 1928.


Seeta Devi and Himanshu Rai

A tale from India about the origin of the Buddha, Prem Sanyas depicts the story of Prince Siddhartha Gautama (portrayed by director Himansu Rai), the man who became the Buddha, as he journeys from privilege and seclusion to awareness of the inevitability of life's suffering, finally renouncing his kingdom to seek enlightenment.

Restoration and release[edit]

The film was restored by Arte, and released in 2001.[2]


  • Seeta Devi: Gopa
  • Himansu Rai: Gautama
  • Sarada Ukil: King Suddhodhana
  • Rani Bala: Queen Maya
  • Profulla Roy

See also[edit]

  • Depictions of Gautama Buddha in film
  • List of films made in Weimar Germany


  1. Overview New York Times.
  2. ‘A Throw of Dice’ and Summer Serials New York Times, 15 July 2008.

External links[edit]