His very first short film as producer was nominated for Oscar Awards in 1960. His first film as director won National awards from Indian Govt. His partnership with World’s famous director James Ivory has been placed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest partnership in independent cinema history. He was an actor, writer, producer, director as well as a great cook. His movie was nominated 4 times for Oscar.
Ismail Merchant the most internationally acclaimed Indian filmmaker. Born and brought up in Mumbai he went to NewYork for higher studies. In 1961 He founded a production house Merchant Ivory Productions in association with director James Ivory. Together they made close to 40 films and their films won six Oscar award and several other prestigious award. They also had close friendship with Novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala who has written most of their films.
His films “A Room with a View” , “Howards End” “The Remains of the Day” and “The Creation of Woman” were nominated for Oscars. His subjects were thoroughly researched showing a detailed frame and his movie sets reflected the luxury.
“Mahatma and the Mad boy” as director, “Shakespeare Wallah” and “Bombay Talkie” as producer were his other famous work. He also wrote couple of books on food and cooking like “Ismail Merchant’s Indian Cuisine”, “Ismail Merchant’s Passionate Meals” and “Ismail Merchant’s Paris: Filming and Feasting in France.
He also wrote books on making of his film. His last book My Passage From India: A Filmmaker’s Journey from Bombay to Hollywood and Beyond gave us insight about how an Asian with strong determination and passion went onto become one of the successful filmmaker in Hollywood and World cinema.
In 2002, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan. He died in 2005 at the age of 68 in London and was buried in Mumbai.