Shiraz (1928)


Shiraz (1928)

A historical romance set in the Mughal Empire. Selima (Enakshi) is a princess-foundling raised by a potter and loved by her brother, Shiraz (Rai). She is abducted and sold as a slave to Prince Khurram, later Emperor Shah Jehan (Roy), who falls for her, to the chagrin of the wily Dalia (Seeta Devi). When Selima is caught with Shiraz, the young man is condemned to be trampled to death by an elephant. A pendant reveals Selima's royal status and she saves her brother, marries the prince and becomes Empress Mumtaz Mahal while Dalia is banned for her machinations against Selima. When Selima dies (1629), the emperor builds her a monument to the design of the now old and blind Shiraz, the Taj Mahal. The film contains a number of passionate kissing scenes.
IMDb   7 /10
TheMovieDb    5.5 /10
Director Franz Osten
Writer Niranjan Pal
Writer William A. Burton
Release Date1929-01-02
Runtime1h 37min
GenreDrama, History, Romance
Content Rating
CompanyPro Patria Films, British Instructional Films (BIF), Himansu Rai Film
CountryIndia, UK, Germany
Shirazas Shiraz
Prince Khurram, afterwards the Emperor Shah Jehanas Prince Khurram, afterwards the Emperor Shah Jehan
Daliaas Dalia
Enakashi Rama Rao
Enakashi Rama Rao
Selima, afterwards the Empress Mumtaz Mahalas Selima, afterwards the Empress Mumtaz Mahal
Maya Devi
Maya Devi
Kulsamas Kulsam
Profulla Kumar
Profulla Kumar
Kasimas Kasim

Shiraz (film)

Shiraz (Shiraz: A Romance of India) (Das Grabmal einer großen Liebe in German) is a 1928 silent film, directed by Franz Osten and starring Himansu Rai and Enakshi Rama Rau. It was adapted from a stage play of the same name by Niranjan Pal, and based on the story of the commissioning of the Taj Mahal – the great monument of a Mughul prince for his dead queen.


Shiraz (Rai) is a potter's son, who is brought up as brother to Selima (Rau), a girl of unknown but royal lineage who was rescued from an ambush in childhood. Shiraz falls in love with Selima as a young adult and when she is kidnapped by slavers and sold to Prince Khurram, Shiraz follows her to Agra, where he will risk a horrible death to protect her and one day design her great memorial.


  • Himansu Rai as Shiraz
  • Enakshi Rama Rau as Selima/Empress Mumtaz Mahal
  • Charu Roy as Prince Khurram/Emperor Shah Jahan
  • Seeta Devi as Dalia


The film was shot in Jaipur. It was an Indian/British/German co-production, and the second of three silent films made on location in India by star and producer Himansu Rai. The others are Prem Sanyas (The Light of Asia, 1926) and A Throw of Dice (Prapanch Pash, 1929).


Shiraz was restored from original film elements by the BFI in 2017, and had its premiere as a gala screening at the 2017 London Film Festival, accompanied by a new score composed and performed by Anoushka Shankar. The Guardian's film critic Peter Bradshaw praised the film as " a startlingly ambitious epic weepie-romance". The restored version subsequently played in a number of venues in India in late 2017. The film was shown as part of the BFI London Film Festival's lineup at We Are One: A Global Film Festival in 2020.