|Biographical detail : ||India’s prominent filmmaker abroad.
Ismail Merchant formed Merchant Ivory Production, along with James Ivory in 1961 and made 47 films. He produced and directed his first film based on Ruth Jhabvala’s novel The Householder in 1963, and then on to Shakespeare Wallah (1965), The Guru (1969), Mahatma and the Mad Boy (1973), The Wild Party (1975), The Europeans (1979), Jane Austin in Manhattan (1980), Heat and Dust (1982), and A Room with a View (1986), based on E. M. Forster’s novel which did very well. His film Howard’s End (1992), cost $8m to make and grossed $70m, and collected three Oscars.
Before Ismail died he had been putting the finishing touches to his latest film, The White Countess, due to be released later in 2005.
Ismail Merchant was accoladed The British Film and Television Academy Fellowship Award in 2002.
Ismail Merchant was born Ismail Noormohamed Abdul Rehman in Bombay, he grew up a stone’s throw from Metro Cinema and started watching Hollywood blockbusters from an early age. Ismail, though, went to New York to study business administration but he really wanted to be a part of the film world.
Ismail was also a legendary cook and wrote books on fusion cooking including Ismail Marchant's Indian Cuisine that sold well abroad. His last book My Passage From India is his engaging memoir.
Ismail Merchant died in a London hospital, after an ulcer burst in his abdomen. He was buried in Bombay.