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Jaffrey, Saeed (1932-)


Main image of Jaffrey, Saeed (1932-)

Saeed Jaffrey began his acting career in India, where he founded his own English language theatre company in Delhi in 1951. The group performed a range of drama classics including plays by Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Tennessee Williams.

His first film in India was Satyajit Ray's The Chess Players (1977), in which he starred opposite Richard Attenborough. His first international role was in John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King (US, 1975). His success in the British film industry continued with starring roles in Gandhi (d. Richard Attenborough, 1982), A Passage to India (d. David Lean, 1984), The Deceivers (d. John Masters, 1988), and My Beautiful Laundrette (d. Stephen Frears, 1986) in which he played Omar's money-hungry, ambitious Thatcherite Uncle Nasser. He was also nominated for a Genie Award for his work in the Canadian film Masala (d. Srinivas Krishna, 1991).

Jaffrey is as well known for his prominent television roles as for his work in film. These include Gangsters (BBC, 1975-76), The Jewel in the Crown (ITV, 1984), The Far Pavilions (Channel 4, 1984), Tandoori Nights (Channel 4, 1985) and Little Napoleons (Channel 4, 1994).

In 1995, Jaffrey became the first Asian actor to be awarded an OBE for his services to drama.

Shalini Chanda

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Gandhi (1982)Gandhi (1982)

Large-scale Oscar-winning biopic of the great Indian spiritual leader

Thumbnail image of My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

Surprise box-office hit about a gay Pakistani/National Front romance

Thumbnail image of Far Pavilions, The (1984)Far Pavilions, The (1984)

Lavish drama series set in India during the British Raj

Thumbnail image of Gangsters (1976-78)Gangsters (1976-78)

Tough crime series set in the Birmingham underworld

Thumbnail image of Jewel in the Crown, The (1984)Jewel in the Crown, The (1984)

Acclaimed drama series set in the 1940s Indian Raj

Thumbnail image of Passage to India, A (1965)Passage to India, A (1965)

The first screen adaptation of E.M. Forster's classic novel

Thumbnail image of Tandoori Nights (1985-87)Tandoori Nights (1985-87)

Sitcom set in an Indian restaurant in East London's Brick Lane

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