Indian film and TV actor Saeed Jaffrey dies aged 86


Bollywood actor Saeed Jaffrey, who starred in films including A Passage To India and Gandhi, has died at the age of 86.

Jaffrey had more than 150 films to his name, which included classic Indian movies such as Satyajit Ray's Shatranj ke Khiladi (The Chess Players). 

Television credits includeTandoori Nights, The Far Pavilions and The Jewel In The Crown.

Jaffrey collapsed at his London home from a brain haemorrhage and never regained consciousness, a statement said.

He died peacefully in the early hours of November 14 at a London hospital. 

Born in India, Jaffrey formed his own English theatre company in Delhi, where he starred in productions of Shakespeare, Wilde, Priestley, Fry, Dylan Thomas and Tennessee Williams. He then went to America as a Fulbright scholar, where he gained a master's degree in drama.

Remaining in America to star on Broadway, he played Professor Godbole in A Passage To India alongside Dame Gladys Cooper. He later returned to A Passage To India, playing Hamidullah in David Lean's 1984 film version.

In England, Jaffrey appeared in West End plays and in a number of productions across the country, earning praise as Oberon in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream at Regent's Park and as Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

The actor starred alongside Sir Michael Caine and Sir Sean Connery in The Man Who Would Be King, which achieved international success. Other film roles included Bonnie's Pictures and The Deceivers - with Pierce Brosnan as a co-star.

In the Millennium edition of the Guinness Book of Records, Jaffrey was named as the only Indian actor to appear in 18 international films. The actor also starred in over 100 films in India.

In 1998, he became part of the first Asian family to feature regularly in ITV soap Coronation Street, playing Ravi Desai.

For the BBC's World Service, Jaffrey wrote and broadcast hundreds of scripts in Hindi, Urdu and English. In the 1997 World Service series A Suitable Boy, he voiced all 86 characters.

He won the Prix Italia for his role in BBC Radio Four play The Pump, where he voiced characters alongside Sir Michael Redgrave.

Jaffrey was made an OBE in 1995 for his contributions to drama, becoming the first Indian to receive the award.

He leaves his wife Jennifer Jaffrey, as well as three children by his first wife, the actress and author Madhur Jaffrey.

The news of his death was shared on Facebook by his niece Shaheen Aggarwal, who 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 funeral will take place in London in around a fortnight.