Bollywood veteran Saeed Jaffery dies aged 86


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INTERNATIONAL ACCLAIM: Sir Sean Connery and Saeed Jaffrey at the photocall for “The Man Who Would Be King” at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2010

INTERNATIONAL ACCLAIM: Sir Sean Connery and Saeed Jaffrey at the photocall for “The Man Who Would Be King” at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2010

The much-loved actor Saeed Jaffrey, a veteran of dozens of Bollywood and international films, has died at the age of 86.

Tributes have poured in since Jaffrey suffered a brain haemorrhage in London.

The news of his death was announced on Sunday 15th November by his niece Shaheen Aggarwal on Facebook.

Shaheen 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 actor collapsed at his London home from a brain haemorrhage and never regained consciousness, according to a statement from Jaffrey Associates.

Jaffrey starred in such acclaimed Indian films as Satyajit Ray's “Shatranj ke Khiladi” (The Chess Players) and more than 100 Bollywood productions.

He became a household name in the UK after appearing in numerous TV dramas including “Tandoori Nights”, “The Far Pavilions” and “Gangsters” and took on the role as Ravi Desai in the soap opera “Coronation Street”.

Jaffrey's international career saw him working with actors such as Sean Connery, Michael Caine in ''The Man Who Would Be King", Roshan Seth, James Ivory, Richard Attenborough and Daniel Day-Lewis.

 MUCH-LOVED: Jaffrey is remembered for his roles in films including “A Passage To India” and “Gandhi” amongst hundreds of Bollywood flicks

MUCH-LOVED: Jaffrey is remembered for his roles in films including “A Passage To India” and “Gandhi” amongst hundreds of Bollywood flicks

His other international films included “The Jewel in the Crown”, “A Passage To India”, ''Chicken Tikka Masala", and "Death on the Nile." He also appeared in, “Gandhi” and earned a Bafta nomination for his role in 1985's “My Beautiful Laundrette”.

Jaffrey started his 40-year career with state-run All India Radio before moving to the United States as a Fulbright scholar, studying drama at the Catholic University of America, according to the Press Trust of India.

He was the first Indian to take Shakespearean plays on a tour to the United States. He later quit the tour to marry his first wife, Madhur Jaffrey, an Indian-born actress, food and travel writer, and television personality. He had three children with her before getting divorced in 1965.

Jaffrey launched his Bollywood career in the 1980s with roles in popular movies such as “Ram Lakhan”, “Masoom (Innocent)”, “Aaina” (Mirror)” and "Henna." He worked with several top Bollywood actors, including Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Madhuri Dixit.

Jaffrey was the first Indian to receive the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1966 for his contributions to drama.

Jaffrey also wrote and starred in dozens of radio plays, winning the Prix Italia for his appearance alongside Sir Michael Redgrave in BBC Radio Four's The Pump.

Director and writer Mahesh Bhat was among those paying tribute, saying: "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.

"I will never forget him for his outstanding performance me in “Ram Teri Ganga Maili”. He was a fascinating man with a large body of work."
He is survived by his wife Jennifer. His funeral is expected to take place in London two weeks' time.

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