Tributes are pouring in for veteran actor Saeed Jaffrey who died at the age of 86 suffering from a brain haemorrhage in London.The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated: "Saeed Jaffrey was a multifaceted actor whose flair and versatility will always be remembered. Deepest condolences on his passing away."
Director and writer Mahesh Bhat added "He was unique because he had a very good understanding of foreign cultures, which he mixed with his Indian ethos and that showed in his performances.”Born in 1929 in the Punjab, Jaffrey started his career in theatre. He then went on to star over 100 Bollywood films. But he is will be particularly remembered for his diverse roles in numerous international films.
He starred in the critically acclaimed film directed by Satyajit Ray called The Chess Players. Other memorable roles included Gandhi, A Passage to India and A Man Who Would Be King. It was his role in in My Beautiful Laundrette which first earned him a BAFTA nomination and mass popularity amongst British audiences. His other roles in Gangster, Tandoori Nights and later dramas such as Far Pavilions and The Jewel in the Crown made him one of the pioneers of British Asians who succeeded in the mainstream. Since then so many others have followed.
Later in life, Jaffrey was more successful on radio dramas and his role with Sir Michael Redgrave in BBC Radio Four’s The Pump won him the Prix Italia. He also toured on Broadway in New York. In 1995 he Jaffrey became the first Indian to be honoured with an OBE in drama.
The news of his death was announced on Facebook by his niece Shaeen 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."
However, whilst his career brought him much success, his personal life was under constant scrutiny. He was married to TV chef and actress Madhur Jaffrey with whom he had three children. They divorced in 1966. Madhur Jaffrey kept his name after the divorce. He married his second wife Jennifer in 1980.