Jethalal H. Thakker (1923-2003) was a significant figure in the history of Bombay cinema as well as the culture of independent studio photography in India. His ancestral family belonged to Quetta, currently in Pakistan. During the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, Thakkermoved to Bombay (Mumbai) from Karachi where he was working as an apprentice at a photo studio. He eventually set up the India Photo Studio in Dadar, just beside the famed Chitra Cinema, a location which helped him connect with the aspiring actors of Bombay film industry. During the 1950s and ‘60s, Thakker became popular for his distinct style of creating ambient as well as dramatic compositions.
Thakker’s black and white portraits played a substantial role in shaping the public persona and stardom of Bombay cinestars. Some of the important film photographs that Thakker produced during the zenith of the Bombay cinema’s Golden era—the 1950s—include Dilip Kumar’s Footpath (1953), the Russian actor Oleg Strizhenov starrer Pardesi or Over the Seas (1957) as the first-ever Soviet-Indian movie, superhits like Chori Chori (1956) starring Raj Kapoor and Nargis etc. A portion from his body of work has been displayed at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai (1993), National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi (2000), and Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum (2016).