Saeed Jaffrey, one of the first Indian actors to successfully establish a career in both Hindi cinema and international movies by starring in classics like “Shatranj Ke Khilari”, “Gandhi” and “My Beautiful Laundrette” , has died at the age of 86.
The actor’s death was confirmed by his niece Shaheen Agarwal on Facebook on Sunday. “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,” she posted.
Director Shekhar Kapur, who worked with the noted actor in his directorial debut “Masoom” , remembered Jaffrey as a kind man.
“Goodbye dear Saeed. Started my career with you in Masoom. Can’t forget your kindness and enthusiasm for your art and others,” he tweeted.
One of the most accomplished actors of his time, Jaffrey started his career in All India Radio before moving to America as a Fulbright scholar where he studied drama from The Catholic University of America. He was the first Indian to take Shakespearean plays on a tour to the U.S., which he left to marry his first wife Madhur Jaffrey.
He starred in as many as 100 Hindi films, including acclaimed projects like Satyajit Ray’s “Shatranj Ke Khiladi” opposite the late Sanjeev Kumar. He credited Ray for bringing him back to Indian films.
His famous Bollywood outings include “Chashme Buddoor” , “Masoom”, “Kissi Se Na Kehna”, “Mandi”, “Mashaal” “Ram Teri Ganga Maili”, “Ram Lakhan”, “Ajooba” and “Henna” among many others.
Jaffrey’s international career saw him working with Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Roshan Seth, James Ivory, Richard Attenborough and Daniel Day-Lewis.
His noted international films are “The Man Who Would Be King”, “Death on the Nile”, “Sphinx”, “The Jewel in the Crown”, “A Passage to India”, “My Beautiful Laundrette”, “The Deceivers”, “After Midnight”, “On Wings of Fire” and “Chicken Tikka Masala”.
Jaffrey received a BAFTA nomination for “My Beautiful Laundrette”.
He is also the first Indian to receive the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his contributions to drama.
Corrections and clarification: The article has been edited for a factual error.