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05 Film Personalities and Others in the Public Gaze

The cinema was a very popular pastime among the Jewish community. Theater and acting were popular among men and women. As Indian women were mostly not allowed to act in film and as the Jewish community was less conservative than their Indian counterpart, a few Jewish women joined the film industry in its formative period. Pramila, (a screen name for Esther Victoria Abraham), followed steps of her cousin Romila became an movie and fashion icon and defined glam in the formative years of Bollywood. Among many honors, she won the first Miss India pageant. Pramila's daughter, Naqui Jaan became Miss India  1967. Her son, Haider Ali became a famous screenwriter and a cinema persona. One of his most memorable movie performances was that in Khwaja Mere Khwaja. Solomon Bekhor in his youth was very active in the sphere of the theater. With his college friends he founded "The Amateur Shakespearean", about which he wrote a captivating memoir Ezra Mir, one of the foremost documentary film-makers of India was also from the Jewish community. Ezra made hundreds of documentaries, newsreels and broadcasts. For his outstanding merits, he was awarded Padma Shri in 1970. Nancy Nevinson was a British film and TV actress with Calcutta roots.