Posts tagged ‘Indian silent movie’

July 11, 2011

Shiraz (1929)

Like the other two of this silent-era triad which I’ve written about here, this Indian-German collaboration produced by Himansu Rai and directed by Franz Osten is a visual feast. Filmed outdoors on location and beautifully photographed, it’s the story of Empress Mumtaz and the Taj Mahal (based on a play by Niranjan Pal) with some creative twists and turns. As with A Throw Of Dice, Himansu Rai loses the girl to Charu Roy; but sweet-faced Seeta Devi plays villainess here instead of heroine with a relish that steals the show.

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February 8, 2011

The Light of Asia (Prem Sanyas) (1925)

Oh, what a treasure this film is! It brought the light and beauty of 1920s India into my cold snowy winter, and cheered me considerably. I can only hope that it will someday soon be available in gorgeous professionally embellished dvd form like its sibling A Throw of Dice. The¬†movie itself is more a series of staged vignettes than what we now consider a motion picture, although there is plenty of pageantry: shambling elephants, prancing horses, trotting camels, and crowds of people. And if the story is a bit over-simplified (adapted from Edwin Arnold’s 1897 epic poem by the same name about the life of Prince Gautama, the Buddha) it doesn’t really matter to me. This is a rare glimpse of history indeed, and a visual and creative feast.

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