Ismail Merchant (25 December 1936 – 25 May 2005) was an Indian-born film producer and director. He worked for many years in collaboration with Merchant Ivory Productions which included director (and Merchant's longtime professional and personal partner) James Ivory as well as screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Their films won six Academy Awards.
Merchant succeeded as an independent producer in Hollywood for more than 40 years. His strength lay in funding his projects, particularly in his ability to produce films for several million dollars less than those of his contemporaries.
Born Ismail Noormohamed Abdul Rehman in Bombay, he was the son of Hazra (maiden name, Memon) and Noormohamed Haji Abdul Rehman, a Mumbai textile dealer. He grew up bilingual in Gujarati and Urdu, and learned Arabic and English at school. When he was 11, he and his family were caught up in the 1947 partitioning of India. His father was president of the Muslim League, and refused to move to Pakistan. Merchant later said that he carried memories of the "butchery and riots" into adulthood...
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