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JAMBO, SAMJI KALA! The Life and Times of Mohanlal Kala Savani, a Pioneer Who Introduced Bollywood to the World

Author Name: Manu M. Savani | Format: Hardcover | Genre : Biographies & Autobiographies | Other Details

Despite it being a foreign land filled with uncertainty, thousands of Indians migrated to East Africa in the late 1800s to early 1900s in order to find jobs or to trade. One such migrant was Mohanlal Kala Savani.

Manu Savani, the youngest son of Mohanlal Kala Savani, shares the history of a hard-working and successful Indian migrant in East Africa through a series of vividly written vignettes, enhanced by a gallery of personal photographs.

JAMBO, SAMJI KALA! offers readers a glimpse of the sociopolitical history of East Africa from 1918 onwards through the story of an ambitious man who landed at the port of Mombasa with a rudimentary elementary school education and empty pockets. Mohanlal Kala Savani was an aspiring young immigrant who worked with focus, resolve and a dauntless spirit to succeed in the world of business.

The growth of the Indian film business in East Africa and overseas is an integral chapter in Mohanlal Kala’s story. With struggle and determination, in 1922 he imported an Indian silent movie with a hand cranked projector. That was a building block to the distribution of Bollywood films internationally.

This detailed biography shares the story of a visionary who turned obstacles into opportunities and became a movie mogul, textile and cotton mega trader, industrialist, real estate developer and philanthropist.       

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Manu M. Savani

Manu Savani is the youngest son of Mohanlal Kala Savani. 

JAMBO, SAMJI KALA! is Manu’s first book as an author. His only previous experience as a writer was as a final year student at the Oxford Brookes University in England, where he wrote a thesis titled “Indian Film Industry and The World Market”.

Manu has been a pioneer of the Indian film distribution business since 1968 when he moved to the United States. He was the first to import Indian films for distribution in North America at a large scale, starting in the late 1960s.

In 1969, he notably hosted and organized Bollywood icon Vyjaynthimala’s Bharatanatyam dance recital at the General Assembly Hall, United Nations in New York, followed by a North American concert tour.

There were no Indian television programs in the United States until Manu became an executive producer for the acclaimed talk show Cinema Cinema in the early 1970s. He has also seen great success as a distributor of independent Hollywood films internationally over five decades. 

Manu has served as a consultant on India at the American Film Market Association and as a board member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (The International Emmy Awards). He currently serves as a member of the advisory board to the Belize International Film Festival.