Ismail Merchant

Producer, Director, Screenwriter
An epicurean who fosters a family atmosphere on his sets, often cooking sumptuous meals for cast and crew, Bombay-born producer Ismail Merchant is one half of the prolific "Merchant-Ivory" team, responsible for an ... Read more »
Born: 12/25/1936 in India

Filmography

Producer (43)

Independent People 2014 (Movie)

(Producer)

Heights 2005 (Movie)

(Producer)

White Countess 2005 (Movie)

(Producer)

Merci Docteur Rey 2004 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Le Divorce 2003 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Golden Bowl 2001 (Movie)

(Producer)

A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries 1998 (Movie)

(Producer)

Side Streets 1998 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Surviving Picasso 1996 (Movie)

(Producer)

Feast of July 1995 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Jefferson in Paris 1995 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Remains of the Day 1993 (Movie)

(Producer)

Howards End 1992 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe 1991 (Movie)

(Producer)

Mr. & Mrs. Bridge 1990 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Perfect Murder 1990 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Slaves of New York 1989 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Deceivers 1988 (Movie)

(Producer)

Maurice 1987 (Movie)

(Producer)

My Little Girl 1987 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Sweet Lorraine 1987 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

A Room With A View 1986 (Movie)

(Producer)

Courtesans of Bombay 1986 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Bostonians 1984 (Movie)

(Producer)

Heat and Dust 1982 (Movie)

(Producer)

Quartet 1981 (Movie)

(Producer)

Jane Austen in Manhattan 1980 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Europeans 1978 (Movie)

(Producer)

Roseland 1977 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Sweet Sounds 1975 (Movie)

(Producer)

Autobiography of a Princess 1974 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The Wild Party 1974 (Movie)

(Producer)

Mahatma and the Mad Boy 1972 (Movie)

(Producer)

Savages 1972 (Movie)

(Producer)

Helen, Queen of the Nautch Girls 1971 (Movie)

(Producer)

Bombay Talkie 1970 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Guru 1969 (Movie)

(Producer)

Shakespeare Wallah 1966 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Householder 1962 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Creation of Woman 1960 (Movie)

(Producer)

Noon Wine (TV Show)

Executive Producer
Director (7)

The Mystic Masseur 2002 (Movie)

(Director)

Cotton Mary 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

The Proprietor 1996 (Movie)

(Director)

Lumiere Et Compagnie 1995 (Movie)

featured co-director(Merchant-Ivory) (Director)

In Custody 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

Courtesans of Bombay 1986 (Movie)

(Director)

Mahatma and the Mad Boy 1972 (Movie)

(Director)
Actor (5)

Song of the Little Road 2003 (Movie)

Interviewee (Actor)

Conversations in World Cinema 1999 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

The Kumars At No. 42 (BBC) 2001 - 2002 (Tv Show)

Actor

Jefferson in Paris 1995 (Movie)

Tipoo Sultan's Ambassador (Actor)

The Guru 1969 (Movie)

Emcee (Actor)
Writer (1)

Courtesans of Bombay 1986 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Biography

An epicurean who fosters a family atmosphere on his sets, often cooking sumptuous meals for cast and crew, Bombay-born producer Ismail Merchant is one half of the prolific "Merchant-Ivory" team, responsible for an oeuvre of handsome and thoughtful independent films reflecting an eye for the exotic and the beautiful and an ear for the carefully wrought line of dialogue. Along with Oregon-raised director James Ivory and the German-raised screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (a Polish Jew educated in Britain and married to an Indian), he is actually part of a triumvirate, perhaps best described by the Hindi word 'sangam' meaning "meeting of three rivers," in this case Asia, Europe and North America. Merchant was introduced to Ivory in 1961 when the producer was 24 and the director was 32. The pair shared a common collaborator, Saeed Jaffrey, who had narrated both Merchant's Oscar-nominated 1960 short "The Creation of Woman" and Ivory's short film "The Sword and the Flute" (1961). Meeting at a screening for the latter, the two eventually formed Merchant-Ivory Productions (MIP) to make English-language features in India for the international market. Their first film, "The Householder" (1963) was adapted by Jhabvala from her novel.

Relationships

Parmesh Merchant

Wife

Noormohamed Haji Abdul Rehman

Father

Hazra Rehman

Mother

EDUCATION

St Xavier's College

1958
Catholic school; presented variety revues while ostensibly studying political science and English

New York University

New York , New York 1960

Milestones

2001

Helmed "The Mystic Masseur", an adaptation of a fiction by V.S. Naipul

2000

Served as producer of the James Ivory-directed "The Golden Bowl", adapted from Henry James' novel

2000

Directed third feature, the period drama "Cotton Mary"

1998

Opened French-Indian restaurant in NYC, Pondicherry

1998

Produced Ivory's "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries", based on Kaylie Jones' autobiographical novel about life with her father, the novelist James Jones

1998

Executive produced Tony Gerber's "Side Streets"

1997

Entered into production deal with UK-based Capitol Films

1996

Helmed "The Proprietor" from his story; a step backward artistically compared with his feature debut

1996

Third film with Hopkins, "Surviving Picasso"

1994

Feature directorial debut, "In Custody"

1993

Reteamed with Thompson and Hopkins for "Remains of the Day"; nominated for eight Oscars including Best Picture (produced with Mike Nichols and John Calley); second film with Reeve

1993

First film under the Disney/Merchant-Ivory deal, "Jefferson in Paris"; played small role as Tipoo Sultan's Ambassador

1993

Opened first restaurant, Bombay Bistro on West 58th Street in NYC

1992

Third Forster adaptation, "Howards End" which received nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture; starred Emma Thompson (who won a Best Actress Oscar), Anthony Hopkins and Vanessa Redgrave

1992

Closed a three-year production deal with Walt Disney Studios

1990

Teamed with Paul Newman and wife Joanne Woodward for "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge"

1989

Missed with "Slaves of New York", scripted by Tama Janowitz from her book of stories

1987

Tackled Forster again with adaptation of the gay-themed "Maurice"

1986

Breakthrough feature and first film based on an E.M. Forster novel, "A Room with a View"; received eight Oscar nominations including Best Picture

1986

First feature without Ivory, executive produced "My Little Girl" under the Merchant-Ivory Productions banner; Connie Kaiserman produced, directed and scripted

1984

Second James adaptation, "The Bostonians"; first film with actor Christopher Reeve; also starred Vanessa Redgrave

1983

Collaborated on the screenplay (with Ivory and Jhabvala) and directed the documentary "Courtesans of Bombay"

1983

Returned to India as a subject for feature film, "Heat and Dust", adapted by Jhabvala from her novel

1979

First feature adaptation of a Henry James novel, "The Europeans"

1973

Directed the short "Mahatma and the Mad Boy"; co-produced with Ivory

1972

MIP produced the documentary "Adventures of a Brown Man in Search of Civilization" (BBC-TV)

1968

First US-financed film, "The Guru"; portrayed Emcee

1965

Had success with "Shakespeare Wallah", about a troupe of actors travelling throughout India

1964

First non-Indian (British) film, "The Delhi Way"

1963

First MIP production, "The Householder"; also marked first collaboration with screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who adapted her novel

1961

Met Ivory at screening for "The Sword and the Flute"; formed Merchant-Ivory Productions (MIP)

1960

Directed and co-produced short film "The Creation of Woman", based on an Indian myth; received Oscar nomination as Best Live-Action Short Subject; its narrator, Saeed Jaffrey (who would appear in four Merchant-Ivory films) had also narrated James Ivory's

1958

Immigrated to the USA

1946

First job in film, a walk-on part in a Bombay film, age nine (date approximate)

Expressing his future mercantile interests, adopted the surname Merchant while in his teens

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