Remembering Ameer Janmohamed’s Regal Cinema, Jeevraj Air Services, Fatehali Dhala

Remembering Ameer Janmohamed's Regal Cinema, Jeevraj Air Services, Fatehali DhalaCoastweek– Remembering The Regal Cinema: The troop ship I had boarded in Alexandria sailed into Kilindini Harbour and dropped anchor in the deep channel.

The year was 1949 and I had arrived from Palestine after a stint in the army for two years.

Excerpt: When my term of service ended, I joined a local aviation firm in Mombasa which was known as Jeevraj Air Services, which flew passengers in light aircrafts to Zanzibar, Dar-es-Salaam and Tanga.

I then flew the Cessna 170 which only carried four passengers.

Jeevraj was an Ismaili and a pioneer in Mombasa’s aviation history. Unfortunately, the demand for this mode of travel was then not fully appreciated and eventually the firm was closed.

While in Mombasa my evenings were spent at the Regal Cinema as I then enjoyed watching movies.

The Regal Cinema was the best theatre in Mombasa in those days, filming such classics as “Gone with the Wind”, “Casablanca”, “Shane”, “Fountainhead” and “Blood and Sand” among a long list of some very fine movies.

The Regal Cinema was a historical landmark, but like so many cinema houses it was overtaken by time and global technological advancement.

In those days, its foyer was flanked by the Goan pharmacist, Edward St. Rose, Husseni Stationery Mart and next to it was the “Mayfair” another quality Indian tailoring shop in that building then housing Whiteways and Laidlow, but now the Standard Bank.

Across Salim Road there were two excellent grocery shops.

One was Belliram Parimall and further up you had Fatehali Dhala.

Ameer Janmohamed – one of the Regal Cinema’s many owners – left Mombasa in 1972 to settle in London.

The Regal Cinema was gutted by fire in 1984 and what remained of it was just an empty shell comprising nothing but charred walls from within.

Ameer wrote a memoir of those days and his life in “A Regal Romance.”

The many historical buildings which made Mombasa a unique place and a real melting pot of so many cultures and civilisations are rapidly disappearing.

Cahil Marduff, Istanbul, Turkey.

Related: New Website: Compendium of Cynical Wisdom by Ameer Janmohammed
Related search Ameer Janmohamed

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

4 thoughts

    1. Dears
      I lived in Mombasa 15 years unil family left in 1968. As a child I roamed all over the island and knew every nook and cranny of the town. Sad to learn the Regal Cinema burned down. It was my favourite. Saw many great films there. Still remember the great mural in the foyer depicting a scene from the Mughal period. Other cinemas I frequented were the Naaz, sorry forget the other two now. Been almost 50 years since we left.


  1. To be thought of in the same breath as Count Fatehali Dhala and Count Kassam Jivraj is an honour indeed, although not really deserved in my case.. The two of them were real ‘giants’ in my time and belonged to my father’s generation. Both of them had been conferred titles of Count by Sultan Mohamed Shah for their achievements and services.
    I write this because I would like to add some more information on Count Kassam Jivraj in addition to what Cahil Marduff writes in the Coastweek article.
    Count Kassam Jivraj must have been a person of most astonishing vision. Not only did he audaciously start an airline, he was also a ship owner. He owned a cargo ship. This ship regularly transported cargo between Mombasa and Tanga in the South, and Lamu and Mogaidshu in the North. It operated from the Old Port in Mombasa. He also owned the Palace Hotel on Kilindini Road, and to round off this image of an air-line and ship and hotel magnate, he also owned a fleet of good-looking Willys Jeeps which were rather like to-day’s Range Rovers.
    -ameer janmohamed-


  2. On a trivial note. I was seven in 1952.I was fond of names that had a certain rhyme and rhythmn so I would go around saying Belliram Parimal just for the sound of it. Much to my mothers ire. So wonderful to be reminded of the shops on Salim Road again.
    Yes indeed Ameer Janmohamed has immortalised the Regal Cinema and all the memories of the people who we’re involved with it.

    I remember the Cassam Jivraj family fondly. One member came to live in our house when we left Mombasa in 1959.
    Mombasa,the light house and the old port have a special place in my heart . I often recall the sights and sounds through the stories of Sultan Somji and Azmina Ladha .

    Thank,you all for those memories.



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