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Saeed Jaffrey, OBE (Punjabi: ਸਈਦ ਜਾਫ਼ਰੀ, سعید جعفری; Hindi: सईद जाफ़री) (8 January 1929 – 15 November 2015) was an Indian-born British actor who appeared in numerous British and Indian movies. His film credits includeThe Man Who Would Be King (1975), Shatranj Ke Khiladi (The Chess Players) (1977), Gandhi (1982), A Passage to India (1965 BBC version and 1984 film), The Far Pavilions (1984), and My Beautiful Laundrette (1985). He has also appeared in many Bollywood films in the 1980s and 1990s. For television he starred in Gangsters (1975–1978), The Jewel in the Crown (1984), Tandoori Nights (1985–1987) and Little Napoleons (1994). He also appeared as Ravi Desai on Coronation Street and in Minder as Mr Mukerjee in Series 1 episode The Bengal Tiger.
Jaffrey was born in Malerkotla, Punjab, in the princely state of that name, to a Punjabi Muslim family. Jaffrey attended Minto Circle at Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh before going on to Wynberg Allen School, St. George's College, Mussoorie,and Allahabad University.
He began his career by setting up a theatre company called Unity Theatre, at New Delhi. His early theatrical work included roles in productions of Tennessee Williams, Christopher Fry, Wilde, and Shakespeare. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art inLondon and gained a Fulbright scholarship in the United States, leading to a second post-graduate degree in drama from The Catholic University of America. His first wife was the actress and TV chef Madhur Jaffrey (divorced 1965). They have three daughters Meera, Zia, and Sakina Jaffrey, who is also an actress.
Jaffrey worked with actors including Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Pierce Brosnan. He starred in popular cinema directed by Satyajit Ray, James Ivory and Richard Attenborough. He was the first Indian to take Shakespearean plays on a tour to theUnited States.
He was also the first Asian to receive British and Canadian Academy Awards nominations, and also the first Indian to receive the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his contributions to drama. He also served as the Radio Director (1951–1956) for All India Radioand Director of Publicity and Advertising at the Government of India Tourist Office, U.S (1958–1960).
Jaffrey died on 15 November 2015
Photo courtesy facebook/Shaheen.Aggarwal