Friday, November 11, 2005

Mother India and my Father

Checking TV listings for Turner Classic Movies for Nov. 13th I noticed
Mother India scheduled for 1:00 a.m.

Something made me want to read more about this movie and then
I figured out why: my father, Sam Millar was doing the artwork for the
poster and I had watched him as he worked on this project at our home
in Pune, India.

Unfortunately my brilliant old man wasn't too keen on being associated with
Indian films in those pre-Bollywood days, having spent a major part of his
life growing up under British Rule and being a starving, tortured artist in the
truest sense of the word. He had a deep knowledge and love of film-making,
in Cecil B. DeMille proportions that he freely shared with anyone who was
willing to listen. And listen they did, and learned, and profited immensely from
his incredible talents in Art, Music, Language and... name it.
He was associated with all the major Indian film studios of the day in
some way or the other and this I know from personal experience, having
spent many a night at the homes of movie stars and producers while they
brainstormed and partied into the wee hours. So the pre-Bollywood history of
Indian film-making has many wonderful contributions of art provided by my
father, the Great Anonymous, the Great Unknown.
I figured a man of such legendary stature must surely be remembered in some
way other than as my Father. So I conducted a quick search for the film
Google, which yielded this link to a recent U.K. Art Gallery exhibit that
my father's poster for Mother India ! Link to Gallery

Unfortunately, Samuel Vincent Millar received little or no credit for most of
his work during his lifetime (not unlike Vincent Van Gogh, his idol), often
using the pseudonym Vincent. The Internet Movie Database has one
lonely link to support my story here :

A contract for a huge series of portraits for the U.S. Supreme Commander
of the Armed Forces in Vietnam
led to an extended visit to Jhansi as
houseguest of General Westmoreland, and a subsequent offer of
Permanent Migration to the U.S. Much as he adored Hollywood, his dislike for
American Politics and morals influenced my father's decision to spend the
rest of his life humbly in Thane, India. Oddly, my own Karma led me to migrate
to the U.S.A. in 1976 and here I am setting the record straight for Sam Millar....


  1. A follow-up to the story of Sam Millar was posted on Feb 18th, 2010:

  2. Hiten Vasa10:12 AM

    Are you aware that Grandsons of Mehboob Khan are Bishopites !!!!

    Aslam graduated in 1973 and Afzal in '75

  3. Never knew that fascinating bit of information, and I was too young to know it when my Dad worked for Mehboob Khan Studios as assistant Art Director. Mehboob was his great friend and benefactor. I will have to dig up a picture of one of my Dad's posters from that era,,,,,,hang in there.