J. B. H. Wadia

13 Sep 1901
4 Jan 1986
Film IndustryWriter
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Jamshed Boman Homi Wadia (13 September 1901 – 4 January 1986), commonly referred to as JBH Wadia, was a prominent Bollywood movie director, screenwriter, producer and founder of Wadia Movietone Studio.JBH was born in prominent Parsi family which hailed from Surat, Gujarat whose ancestral business was ship building. Their family name of Wadia stands for master shipbuilders. In a family of entrepreneurs JBH is credited with creation of movies involving populist stunt roles including those by Fearless Nadia and bringing concept of stunt actresses to Indian cinema.

JBH began his film making career with silent movies. Being an intellect and writer he wrote scripts for his movies while Homi Wadia being an pragmatic brother was responsible for executing these. JBH and Homi co-produced their first movie Vasant Leela in year 1928, along with 11 other silent movies in Kohinoor Studios in Dadar.These movies were modest success and were mostly remakes of populist Hollywood classics. In the year 1933 he founded Wadia Movietone company and made their first Talkie movie Lal-E-Yaman. This movie’s success helped establish Wadia Movietone studio in Dadar, in partnership brother Homi, distributor M B Billimoria and Tata brothers Burjore and Nadirshaw.

Under the Movietone Studio banner JBH introduced a variety of new concepts to Indian cinema starting with concept of stunt actresses playing leading roles to newsreel,The Indian Gazette, to a feature-length documentary, Haripura Congress. As part of capturing cinematic recordings of early classical and semi-classical musicians and singers he made a series titled Wadia Movietone Variety Program. Movietone Studio was also the first to create an Indian film with songs, Nav Jawan, first English Indian movie, The Court Dancer, first Sindhi movie, Ekta, first television series, Hotel Taj Mahal.

Some of the notable movies made by Movietone studio were Swadesh, Black Rose, Fauladi Mukka, Return of toofan mail, Jai Bharat, Kahan hai manzil teri and movies starring Fearless Nadia namely Hunterwali, Miss Frontier mail, Hurricane Hansa, Lootaru Lalna, Diamond queen, Bambaiwali, Jungle Princess.

In late 30’s JBH got involved in Indian freedom struggle and started making movies involving social change. These included Raj Nartaki, Vishwas, Krishna Bhakta Bodana, Ankh ki Sharam, Manthan and Amar Raj.

JBH Wadia was born an a prominent Parsi family with rich background. JBH himself was well educated with MA and LLB degrees. He was brought up in a westernized Parsi upkeeping that allowed him to see life differently and he ventured into movie making business.

JBH was married to Hilla Patell. They had an daughter named Haidee and a son named Vinci.

Son Vinci Wadia who was married to Nargis and had grandsons Riyad and Roy.

JBH died in year 1986 due to cancer.

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