Himansu Rai

1892 - 1940

The Indian producer and actor Himansu Rai belonged to the pioneers of the Indian film who worked together with European filmworkers. With it he was able to become acquainted with the newest technology he brought to India later. 

As a son of a rich family he was able to study law at the university of Calcutta, after his education he worked as a lawyer in London at the beginning of the 20s.

There he came in contact with the acting and he appeared in some plays as an actor.
Also in London he met the production designer Devika Rani and they got married in 1929 and she became an actress in his movies. 

When Himansu Rai met the director Franz Osten in 1925 the outcome of this was a collaboration for many years. Their first corporate movie "Prem Sanyas - Die Leuchte Asiens" (25) fascinated the German audience and later the whole world because of the exotic world showing in it. Himansu Rai was co-director besides Franz Osten and impersonated the leading role. 

Afterwards followed two more projects with "Shiraz - Das Grabmal einer grossen Liebe" (28) and "Prapancha Pash - Schicksalswürfel" (29). Franz Osten was responsible as a director in both movies, Himansu Rai was producer and actor at the same time. 

With the rise of the sound film it lasted till 1933 before Himansu Rai realised his next movie as a producer and actor - "Karma" (33).

When the National Socialist seized power in Germany he returned to India and founded there his own studio with Bombay Talkies together with his wife. 

Himansu Rai now concentrated his activities on the function of a producer and together with director Franz Osten and the actor Ashok Kumar (from 1936) he realised movies like "Jawani Ki Hawa" (35), "Jeevan Naya" (36), "Janmabhoomi" (36), "Achhut Kanya" (36) - for this movie he also wrote the script, "Savitri" (37), "Jeevan Prabhat" (37), "Izzat" (37) and "Kangan" (39).

The incicents in Europe did not pass by without a trace in India and when Germany declared war on England, Franz Osten and others of Himansu Rai's employees of German descent were detained. With it the existence of Himansu Rai's company run into mischief and it followed stressful weeks and months which overstrained him at the end.
Himansu Rai suffered a nervous breakdown and died shortly afterwards in May 1940 at the age of only 47. 

His wife Devika Rani continued with the company till 1945, afterwards the company remained till to the 50s beforte it became liquidated.