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“Merchant Princes of Bombay?/b>


erchant Princes of Bombay, a documentary by noted film-maker Zafar Hai, evolved
in Hai’s own words, “through a meeting of minds between Zarir Cama, ex-CEO of HSBC, and myself, the producer/director of the film. We wanted to do a film together that would throw up the little-known contributions of the nineteenth-century merchant princes to the building of the great city of Bombay, as it was then called.?Cama is prominently featured in the film.

Hai continues, “The merchant princes were fascinating men, who flirted with risk and adventure in their respective businesses, and at the same time gave a great deal back to the city to which they belonged. From the point of view of the structure of the film, it was fortuitous that their lives overlapped and intertwined. The contrast in their backgrounds could not have been greater: an illiterate Parsi orphan who went on to make a fortune in the opium trade. A Jew from Baghdad, who came here empty-handed and created a trading empire. A speculator in the financial markets who became so powerful that a mere note from him could open the vaults of the Bank of Bombay. And a young man ordained as a Parsi priest, who would develop the vision to bring the Industrial Revolution to India.?/font>

             
Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy                                                                       David Sassoon

Merchant Princes is an effective film, the result of in-depth research within a concentrated time frame, with picturesque material that synchronises beautifully with the narration, tracing a linear path through the revolutions that marked the century.

Beautifully structured and photographed, the film deserves to be widely seen, particularly by the younger generation, students in schools and colleges ?so that they may learn that these “princes? were not born but made, and about the tremendous obstacles they faced and how they overcame them. They became men of great wealth, but showed considerable compassion for others less fortunate. They practised the trusteeship of wealth much before Andrew Carnegie developed the concept in his Gospel of Wealth. They came as near as possible to the precept of Mahatma Gandhi that “a trustee has no heirs but the public?

                                                                                                                                                        
               
Premchand Roychand                                                                        Jamsetji Tata

Unfortunately in India the showing of such films is always difficult, unless they are released through the Films Division and compulsorily exhibited in cinema houses before the scheduled feature films, or through certain specialised agencies. The Documentary Film Makers  Association has been of great help in this regard.*
                                                                                                                     B.K.

 

* See also: Between Us, “Calling The Tune?
 

What is Love?
 

A group of four- to eight-year-olds was asked “What does love mean??The answers they gave were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined.

[ “When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.?br> Rebecca ?age 8

[ “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.?br> Billy ?age 4

[ “Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.?br> Chrissy ?age 6

[ “Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.?br> Terri ?age 4

[“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.?br> Danny ?age 7

[ “Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.?br> Tina ?age 7

[ “Love is like a little old woman and little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.?br> Tommy ?age 6
 

[ “During my piano recital, I was on a stage and scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore. That’s love.?br> Cindy ?age 8

[ “My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.?br> Clare ?age 5

[ “Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken.?br> Elaine ?age 5

[ “Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.?br> Mary Ann ?age 4

[ “I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.?br> Lauren ?age 4

[ “I let my big sister pick on me because my Mom says she only picks on me because she loves me. So I pick on my baby sister because I love her.?br> Bethany ?age 4

Love is not only made for lovers... it’s also for friends and family who love each other... sometimes better than lovers...