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A Throw of Dice DVD

Franz Osten, 1929


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Film Details

Directed by Franz Osten

Produced in 1929

Main Language - Silent

Countries & Regions - Asian Film, Indian Film


Charu Roy, Himansu Rai, Seeta Devi


Silent Melodrama Film Asian FilmIndian Film

MovieMail's Review

This is a real treasure from the archives; a beautiful print of an Indian silent film, shot on location in the palaces and countryside of Rajasthan, that brings to life an episode of the Mahabarata. It tells of the rival Kings Ranjit and Sohan, both addicted to gambling. Sohan craves Ranjit’s kingdom, attempting to kill him during a tiger hunt, but Ranjit is nursed back to health by his old teacher, and falls in love with his daughter Sunita, who is also coveted by Sohat. On the eve of Ranjit and Sunita's wedding, Sohat arrives with his wedding gift, an exquisite set of dice. Would King Ranjit perhaps like a game before the ceremony? Ranjit cannot resist and soon his life, kingdom and the woman he loves are his stake.

This is a more intimate film than its 10,000 extras, 1000 horses and 50 elephants would lead you to imagine. Its cinematography is notable too, from some memorably lovely close-ups, especially during Ranjit and Sunita’s budding romance, to moments of surprisingly mobile camerawork. Nitin Sawhney's sympathetic score provides admirable accompaniment.

Anonymous on 8th October 2007
Author of 299 reviews

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Film Description

After Prince Sohan contrives a hunting accident for his rival, Prince Ranjit, so that he might inherit his lands, Ranjit foils his ploy by remaining alive thanks to the intervention of a nearby medicine man. Falling in love with his daughter Sunita only inflames Sohan's jealousy further, and on the eve of Ranjit's wedding, Sohan presents him with his gift of some exquisitely tooled dice, and suggests a game while thinking of revenge. Ranjit cannot resist.

Based on the pivotal gambling episode from the Mahabharata, this is a classic Indian silent film from the German director Franz Osten, with a new score by Nitin Sawhney.

DVD Details

Certificate: U

Publisher: BFI

Length: 74 mins

Aspect ratio: 4:3 Full Frame

Format: DVD B&W

Region: 2

Released: 29th October 2007

Cat No: BFIVD734

DVD Extras

  • Exclusive filmed interview with Nitin Sawhney
  • Fully illustrated 22-page booklet including essays by film historian Amrit Gangar and filmmaker Asif Kapadia (The Warrior), biographies and reviews.

Film Stills

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