lights and shadows were so essential to the movie, they were actually painted on the sets!
It’s no surprise that German Expressionism gave birth to horror films and film noir (crime thrillers that explore the darker side of human nature). It had a huge influence on film directors across the world—then and now—from Alfred Hitchcock, Guillermo del Toro and Ridley Scott, to our very own Himanshu Rai, Kamal Amrohi and V Shantaram. Both Rai and Shantaram visited the Ufa studios in Germany.
Himanshu Rai Producer and actor Himanshu Rai’s Prem Sanyas (The Light of Asia, 1925) marked the beginning of Indo-German collaboration in cinema. This silent film tells the story of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who went on to become the Buddha. Directed by the German director Franz Osten and shot by another German, cinematographer Josef Wirsching, it was the first Indian film to be distributed internationally.
Rai had studied in Germany and was deeply influenced by its cinema. His involving Germans in this film led to the introduction of German Expressionism in the Bombay film industry, as well as continued Indo-German collaborations. Wirsching, with his meticulous lighting and eccentric camera angles, played a major role in spreading this movement in India.