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Monday, 18 February, 2002, 14:11 GMT
Merchant Ivory to get Bafta honour
Ismail Merchant
Ismail Merchant (right) produced the pair's most famous films
One of the film world's most successful partnerships, Merchant Ivory, is to be given one of the UK film industry's most prestigious honours.

James Ivory and Ismail Merchant, the men behind films including A Room with a View and The Remains of the Day, will be given a Bafta Academy Fellowship at this weekend's Bafta Awards, the UK's main film awards ceremony.

Ismail Merchant
The Remains of the Day starred Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson
They join a long list of some of the biggest names in the industry who have been given the award, including Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Sean Connery and Steven Spielberg.

Actress Dame Judi Dench, who was nominated for a best supporting actress Bafta in 1987 for A Room with a View, was the most recent person to be given the fellowship honour in December 2001.

"It is a great honour to receive the Academy Fellowship and particularly to be included among such distinguished company," Ismail Merchant said.

Mr Merchant has been the producer and Mr Ivory the director on many of the pair's most famous films, which also include Howard's End, The Europeans and Heat and Dust.

They also work closely with their business partner, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

Bafta chairman Simon Relph said he was "delighted" to welcome the film-makers into the elite club.

Beauty

"Merchant Ivory are amongst Britain's most prolific and respected film makers and are much loved and appreciated by our community," he said.

Bafta said the pair were being honoured for their films' visual beauty, mature and intelligent themes, shrewd casting and superb acting.

Ismail Merchant
The Mystic Masseur is released in the UK in March
Mr Merchant, born in India, and Mr Ivory, born in the United States, have been working together since 1961 and their films have won six Oscars.

Their latest production, Mystic Masseur, is adapted from the VS Naipaul novel and is Mr Merchant's fourth directorial feature.

Starring Om Puri, James Fox and Sanjeev Bhaskar, it is released in the UK in March.

The Bafta ceremony will be hosted by actor Stephen Fry and takes place in London on Sunday, with live coverage on BBC One.

Follow the latest news and features from the Bafta film awards


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