Coastweek website



Tribute to Late Mr. Ramanlal M Savani

Coastweek -- With the demise on Monday February 1st of Ramanlal Savani comes a sad passing in Kenya of an era of the Golden Hollywood and Bollywood.

Ramanlal Savani, popularly known as Ramanbhai, had to his credit bringing the best Bollywood entertainment first to East Africa and then also to the other African  countries and also to the Middle East, the United Kingdom and many other overseas countries.

His immense interest in developing the cinema business he managed Majestic Cinema and then the family owned Queen’s Cinema (later called Kenya Cinema) in Mombasa.

Queen’s Cinema in the early 1952 was popularly called “the Cinema Deluxe” which was the first cinema in the entire East Africa to install wide screens CinemaScope and Stereophonic Sound system.

Ramanbhai made the Kenya Cinema (Mombasa) a magnet not only to the Kenya coast moviegoers but also to the film producers and suppliers from around the world.

The movies which invited long queues sometimes overnight queues were for the Hollywood hits Dr. No, The Towering Inferno, From Russia With Love, The Rise And The Fall Of Idi Amin, The Ten Commandments, Titanic etc.


  Coastweek -- Ramanlal M Savani.

The bollywood films which ran for weeks and weeks included the titles Waqt, Mughal E Azam, Ganga Jamuna, Sholay, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun, Aradhana, Haathi Mere Saathi , Silsila, Bobby etc.

From most unheard of in those days was inviting Bollywood celebrities to the Kenya coast. His guests at the Kenya Cinema were film makers Yash Chopra, K. Asif; stars Dilip Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Raaj Kumar, Nanda, Jeetendra, Asha Parekh etc.

Ramanbhai was the first person to bring the Italian “Spaghetti Westerns” Django and Johnny Yuma to the East African audience.

Thereafter the flood of Italian action titles hit the Kenya cinemas.

The martial art films till the early 1960s were mostly low budget action fares till Ramanbhai went for better standard Hong Kong products.

Ramanbhai was a man of business insight.

When he realized that for a major hit film one cinema was not enough for the Nairobi and Mombasa audience he introduced a system of “simultaneous release” of a film in three or even four cinemas on the same weekend.

This benefited the film distributors, the cinemas and most the moviegoers !

With the passing of Ramanbhai the coast people have lost an illustrious entertainment business icon of the Hollywood and Bollywood golden age.

Dev Savani.

Remember: you read it first at !


Please contact

MOMBASA - GULSHAN JIVRAJ, Mobile: 0722 775164 Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130 /
Wireless: 020 3549187 e-mail:

NAIROBI - ANJUM H. ASODIA, Mobile: 0733 775446 Tel: (+254) (020) 3744459

    © Coastweek Newspapers Limited               Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130  |  Wireless: 020 3549187  |  E-mail: