Prem Nagar

A tangled love story full of intrigue and sudden twists, magic, fights and even murders, set in a typical Indian village. Anger, envy and jealousy threaten to destroy the entire village. The screenplay for this film about the “real India” from the thirties was written by Willy Haas, originating from Prague, who fled from the Nazis to India in the 1930’s.

1940 – 120 min – Romantic

Directed by: Mohan Dayaram Bhavnani

Cast: Husn Banoo, Bimla Kumari, Ramananad

Language: Hindi

Subtitles: Czech

Format:   DVD

The screening will be introduced with the lecture “From Prague to Bombay: Willy Haas as scriptwriter in early Bollywood” by Dr. Christoph von Ungern-Sternberg (the lecture is in English) and a reading from Willy Haas’ memoirs from India.

Lecture “From Prague to Bombay: Willy Haas as scriptwriter in early Bollywood”

About Willy Haas, how he joined Bhavnani-Production, what he worked on and what were the issues he had to deal with, with a focus on the film Prem Nagar.

The event is organized in collaboration with the Prague Center for Jewish Studies and the Czech Union of Jewish Youth.

About the director

Mohan Dayaram Bhavnani was born in 1903 in Hyderabad (now Pakistan) and has directed a total of 56 films, including 12 documentaries. He studied at the College of Technology in Manchester (1921-4), and moved then to Germany to study film-making (1924). His career in Bollywood started in 1925 and was marked by the fact that his films were the earliest efforts in the Indian cinema to create a Hollywood-type movie star. In 1932 he returned to Germany to study sound film technique and then started his own production company (1935-48). He produced and directed the first full-length colour film shot on 16mm Kodachrome and blown up to 35mm. In 1958 Bhavnani followed up an invitation from Zhou En-Lai to make a documentary on China and travelled extensively throughout the country shooting with cameramen Kishore Rege and S.K. Kulkarni.