indian cinema heritage foundation

Ambalal J Patel

  • Born: 15 April, 1907 (Ode, Kaira)
  • Died: 1961

Founder of Film Centre, the first Indian laboratory to produce colour prints, Amabalal Jhaverbhai Patel had quite the storied career. Born on 15 April, 1907, he became a photography enthusiast in his youth when a visiting photographer showed him a camera. Beginning as an usher in a cinema hall, he later went to East Africa for a job. In 1932 he opened a camera shop in Bombay called the Central Camera Company. He was often asked by companies like MGM and 20th Century Fox for their films. In 1939, he had a successful exhibition which led to him becoming a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. In 1940 he travelled to the United States and his experiences there led him to propoe a weekly Indian newsreel to the British government. This was the inception of the Indian News Parade, whcih was produced between 1943 and 1946. 

His significant achievement was the founding of Film Centre in 1946 which was touted to be the first laboratory with the facility to produce colour prints. He also produced Ezra Mir's Pamposh (1954), in order to showcase the capabilities of his laboratory. Film Center went on to become a major institute of the fillm industry, processing a large number of Hindi films over the decades. He was also the publisher of the periodical journal Camera in the Tropics. The veteran photographer and producer passed away in 1961. 


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