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Ismail Merchant

Ismail Merchant

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Also Known As: Died: May 25, 2005
Born: December 25, 1936 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: India Profession: Producer ...
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MILESTONES

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
1958:
Immigrated to the USA
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 second short film, "The Sword and the Flute", about Indian art
1961:
Met Ivory at screening for "The Sword and the Flute"; formed Merchant-Ivory Productions (MIP)
1963:
First MIP production, "The Householder"; also marked first collaboration with screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who adapted her novel
1964:
First non-Indian (British) film, "The Delhi Way"
1965:
Had success with "Shakespeare Wallah", about a troupe of actors travelling throughout India
1969:
First US-financed film, "The Guru"; portrayed Emcee
1972:
MIP produced the documentary "Adventures of a Brown Man in Search of Civilization" (BBC-TV)
1973:
Directed the short "Mahatma and the Mad Boy"; co-produced with Ivory
1979:
First feature adaptation of a Henry James novel, "The Europeans"
1983:
Returned to India as a subject for feature film, "Heat and Dust", adapted by Jhabvala from her novel
1983:
Collaborated on the screenplay (with Ivory and Jhabvala) and directed the documentary "Courtesans of Bombay"
1984:
Second James adaptation, "The Bostonians"; first film with actor Christopher Reeve; also starred Vanessa Redgrave
1986:
First feature without Ivory, executive produced "My Little Girl" under the Merchant-Ivory Productions banner; Connie Kaiserman produced, directed and scripted
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
1987:
Tackled Forster again with adaptation of the gay-themed "Maurice"
1989:
Missed with "Slaves of New York", scripted by Tama Janowitz from her book of stories
1990:
Teamed with Paul Newman and wife Joanne Woodward for "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge"
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
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
1994:
Feature directorial debut, "In Custody"
1996:
Third film with Hopkins, "Surviving Picasso"
1996:
Helmed "The Proprietor" from his story; a step backward artistically compared with his feature debut
1997:
Entered into production deal with UK-based Capitol Films
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"
1998:
Opened French-Indian restaurant in NYC, Pondicherry
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"
2001:
Helmed "The Mystic Masseur", an adaptation of a fiction by V.S. Naipul

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