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Ismail Merchant's Biography

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Ismail Merchant was born in Mumbai on Christmas Day 1936. His father was a wealthy textile importer.

Merchant studied business at New York University.

Ismail Merchant, who went on to become one of the world's best known film producers, made his debut as a producer in 1960 with The Creation of Woman, which was nominated for an Oscar and played in competition at the 1961 Cannes film festival.

For 20 years, Merchant Ivory Productions, the company he founded with director James Ivory, produced commercially succesful art cinema. They were joined later by a third partner, Indian author Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who was regularly a screenwriter on Merchant Ivory films.

Director Alan Parker dubbed Merchant Ivory films the "Laura Ashley school of film-making".

Ismail Merchant died on 25 May 2005


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