Director: Giorgio Mannini; Writer: Ferdinando Paolieri, Aldo de Benedetti, Giorgio Mannini; Producer: Cines (Rome), Madan Theatres; Cinematographer: Gioacchino Gengarelli; Cast: Rina de Liguoro, Angelo Ferrari, Gianna Terribili-Gonzales
Described as India's first international co- production (cf Nala Damayanti
, 1920; Dhruva Charitra
, 1921), this much-touted Madan film was shot in Rome with an Italian cast in 1923 and released in 1925. Italian sources do not mention the involvement of Madan Theatres. Some sources credit
T. Marconi, who later shot lndrasabba 0932), with the cinematography and the original story is said to be by the indologist A. De Gubernatis whose narrative was first translated into Gujarati by Nanabhai Ranina (Parsee theatre playwright and author of the first dictionary from Gujarati to English), and thence into Hindi. The love-is-stronger-than-death story sees Savitri (de Liguoro), the daughter of King Ashwapati and a goddess, fall for Satyavan (Ferrari) who is destined to die within a year. He is killed by a tree and his soul is gathered
by the god Yama (Terribili-Gonzales) but he returns to life and there is a happy ending for the lovers. Contemporary Italian critics described it both as a medieval legend transported to the Orient and a 1001 Nights story. It was regarded as a colourful spectacle, promoted as Italy's most 'daring' film to date. Its delayed release and the short running time suggest that the film may have been re-edited, losing some nudity and other 'erotic' images to satisfy the censor.