Nov 22, 2014

Scene from the Movie Prem Sanyas / Die Leuchte Asiens - 1925

Prem Sanyas / Die Leuchte Asiens

The translation of the Dutch text on the back of this postcard reads: “Gotama’s Palace in the garden of wonders. One of the scenes, playing in the old historic India that gives the Emelka film ‘Boeddha, de roeping van een koningszoon’ (Prem Sanyas / Die Leuchte Asiens, 1925) such a special charm. Thanks to the cooperation of the Indian royalty it was possible for Franz Osten to film all the scenes on historic locations. He used all the buildings with their unforgettable architectural beauty, and their wealth of sculptures and reliefs, splendidly. That’s how a film was produced that will be unsurpassable. ‘Boeddha’ will be shown from Friday 26 March in Theater Tuschinski” Theater Tuschinski in Amsterdam is still the main movie palace in The Netherlands. These special postcards for the release of Prem Sanyas (1925, Franz Osten and Himansu Rai) proved that this German-Indian film must have been a big, commercial production at the time.

Prem Sanyas or Die Leuchte Asiens was an adaptation of an Orientalist epic (1861) by British author Edwin Arnold. It 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 (Himansu Rai), son of King Suddodhana and Queen Maya, who left his consort Gopa (Seeta Devi) 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. The film exhibits a strange but fascinating hybrid between exoticism and authenticity.

(Sources: IMDb and postcard)