The renowned Bollywood entertainment actor, Saeed Jaffrey collapsed at his London home due to a brain hemorrhage, to never regain consciousness. Aged 86, he died peacefully at a London hospital in the early hours of November 14. Born in India in 1929. Jaffrey starred in many films including Gandhi and A Passage to India, and even in the TV soap opera, Coronation Street.
He had formed his own English theatre company in Delhi where he acted in various productions of Dylan Thomas, Tennessee Williams and Shakespeare. He then moved to America as a Fullbrighte scholar where he acquired his master’s degree in drama. This is where he grew into a Broadway star, playing Professor Godbole in A Passage to India with Dame Gladys Cooper.
He also acted in various West End plays in England and various productions across the country. He was widely praised for his role as Oberon in a movie called Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and for his role as Colonel Pickering in a movie My Fair Lady in Sheffield.
Jaffrey also acted with Sir Michael Caine and Sir Sean Connery in internationally successful The Man Who Would Be King. Other roles he played included The Deceivers where Pierce Brosnan was his co-star. The Millennium edition of the Guinness Book of Records listed Jaffrey as the only Indian actor to act in 18 international films besides his more than 100 Indian films.
He was part of the first Asian family to regularly feature in ITV soap Coronation Street as Ravi Desai in 1998. Jaffrey also wrote and broadcast various scripts in Urdu, Hindi and English for the BBC’s World Service.
He had also voiced all 86 characters for the 1997 World Service series, A Suitable Boy. His role in the BBC Radio Four play The Pump, where he and Sir Michael Redgrave voiced characters won him the Prix Italia. Jaffrey is the first Indian to receive the OBE in 1995 for his contributions to drama and entertainment.
With his death, Jaffrey leaves his present wife Jennifer Jaffrey and his first wife, actress and author Madhur Jaffrey and their three children. The funeral is scheduled to take place in London in a fortnight.