The Light of Asia

Director: Franz Osten
Starring: Himansu Rai, Seeta Devi, Sarada Ukil, Rani Bala
Run time: 97 mins | Recommended Certificate: 12A
Language: English subtitles with live accompaniment | Year: 1925 | Country: India-Germany

A beautiful and moving Indian silent about the early life of the Buddha

This adaptation of Edwin Arnold’s 1861 eponymous epic poem tells the story of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the man who became the Buddha. It was the project of screenwriter Niranjan Pal and producer and lead actor Himansu Rai, who were passionate about promoting Indian culture in film. When they found no English backers, they made a co-production deal with Emelka Films in Munich and succeeded in making the first Indian film to be distributed internationally. Shot entirely on location in India and with no artificial lighting, it’s a simple story made with respect for its religious subject, and is both beautiful and moving.

BFI Screening presented in association with LIFF

Intro by Cary Rajinder Sawhney


Franz Osten

Film Screenings

London | BFI Southbank
July 7, 2024 3:10 pm

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