Radio Sandwell Miscellanea

Saeed Jaffrey, Indian actor and Bollywood veteran, dies

2015-11-16 21:55:47

Saeed JaffreyJaffrey is remembered for his roles in films including A Passage To India and Gandhi

Actor Saeed Jaffrey, a veteran of dozens of Bollywood and international films, has died at the age of 86.

Tributes have poured in since Jaffrey suffered a brain haemorrhage in London.

Jaffrey starred in such acclaimed Indian films as Satyajit Ray's Shatranj ke Khiladi (The Chess Players) and more than 100 Bollywood productions.

He also appeared in A Passage To India, Gandhi and The Man Who Would Be King, and earned a Bafta nomination for his role in 1985's My Beautiful Laundrette.

The news of his death was announced on Sunday by his niece Shaheen Aggarwal on Facebook.

She wrote: "Today, a generation of Jaffreys has passed away. Saeed Jaffrey has joined his brothers and sister and is rejoicing in the lap of his Heavenly Father, eternally."

The actor collapsed at his London home from a brain haemorrhage and never regained consciousness, according to a statement from Jaffrey Associates.

Saeed JaffreyHe played the Nawab of Mirat in Granada's The Jewel in the Crown

Born in Punjab in India in 1929, Jaffrey began his career as a theatre actor and was the first Indian to tour Shakespeare across the United States and to star in a major Broadway role, according to Jaffrey Associates.

He became a household name in the UK after appearing in numerous TV dramas including Tandoori Nights, The Far Pavilions and Gangsters.

His best-known roles included the Nawab of Mirat in the landmark 1980s series The Jewel In The Crown and Ravi Desai in the soap opera Coronation Street.

On the big screen, he starred opposite Michael Caine and Sean Connery in 1975's The Man Who Would Be King and played Patel in Sir Richard Attenborough's Oscar-winning Gandhi in 1982.

Sir David Lean cast him as Hamidullah in 1984 epic A Passage to India, and Jaffrey was nominated for the best supporting actor Bafta for playing the laundrette-owning Nasser in My Beautiful Laundrette, which starred Daniel Day-Lewis.

Saeed JaffreyJaffrey played Ravi Desai in TV soap Coronation Street

Jaffrey also wrote and starred in dozens of radio plays, winning the Prix Italia for his appearance alongside Sir Michael Redgrave in BBC Radio Four's The Pump.

He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1995 for his contributions to drama.

The actor was married to actress-author Madhur Jaffrey with whom he had three children. They divorced in 1966.

Director and writer Mahesh Bhat was among those paying tribute, saying: "He was unique because he had a very good understanding of foreign cultures, which he mixed with his Indian ethos and that showed in his performances.

"I will never forget him for his outstanding performance in Ram Teri Ganga Maili. He was a fascinating man with a large body of work."

As the news of his death spread on Monday, many took to Twitter to mourn:

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote: "Saeed Jaffrey was a multifaceted actor whose flair and versatility will always be remembered. Deepest condolences on his passing away."
  • Adil Ray, who writes and stars in BBC sitcom Citizen Khan, wrote on Twitter: "So sad to hear about the passing of actor Saeed Jaffrey. A tour de force and paved the way for so many."
  • Rajyavardhan Rathore, India's minister of State for information and broadcasting, wrote: "Condolences on passing away of screen legend #SaeedJaffrey. His range and acting depth will be remembered for long."
  • Actress Kathy Burke said: "Had the pleasure of working with Saeed in the last century. RIP lovely man."
  • Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon, who starred alongside Jaffrey in Hindi-language films including Deewana Mastana (1997) and Aunty No. 1 (1998), wrote: "sad news of the passing away of senior actor Saeed Jaffrey...did films where he played my dad, warm, witty, jovial, Sir u will be missed RIP". She added: "A brilliant actor.. A unique style.. Mischievous twinkling eyes."
  • Shivraj Singh Chouhan, chief minister of Madhya Pradesh state, tweeted: "Sad demise of versatile actor Saeed Jaffrey is a big loss to film industry. For decades, he enthralled us with his class apart acting. #RIP"

He married his second wife Jennifer in 1980. His funeral is expected to take place in London two weeks time.


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