Prem Sanyas – A tale about the origin of the Buddha

‘Prem Sanyas’ is a tale from India about the origin of the Buddha that came out late back in 1925. It depicts the story of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, portrayed by Himansu Rai, who journeys from privilege and seclusion to awareness of the inevitability of life’s suffering, renouncing his kingdom to seek enlightenment.

The silent film beautifully portrays the situation. It begins with a travelogue of exotic India: the Jamma Masjid in Delhi, Benares, Calcutta, Bombay, snake charmers, and scenes with firangi tourists shopping and watching a poor bear “dance” for them. The sightseeing gradually takes the tourists to the temple in Gaya where Buddha attained enlightenment after meditating under the Bodhi tree for forty days and forty nights.

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