Saeed Jaffrey (Punjabi: ਸਈਦ ਜਾਫ਼ਰੀ, سعيد جعفری; Hindi: सईद जाफ़री) is an Indian-born British actor, who has done numerous British movies. He was born in Malerkotla, Punjab. His film credits include The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Shatranj Ke Khiladi (The Chess Players) (1977), Gandhi (1982), A Passage to India (1965 BBC version and 1984 film) and My Beautiful Laundrette (1985).
He has also appeared in many Bollywood films in the 1980s and 1990s. For television he has starred in Gangsters (1975-1978), The Jewel in the Crown (1984), Tandoori Nights (1985-1987) and Little Napoleons (1994). He also appeared as Ravi Desai on Coronation Street as the father of Vikram Desai, the cousin of Dev Alahan and in Minder (TV series) as Mr Mukerjee in Series 1 episode The Bengal Tiger.
He went to St. George's College, Mussoorie, Aligarh Muslim University (Aligarh) and started his career by setting up his theatre company called Unity Theatre, at New Delhi. His early theatrical work included roles in productions of Tennessee Williams, Christopher Fry, Wilde, and Shakespeare. He did his studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and went to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship, where he took a second post-graduate degree in drama from The Catholic University of America.
He also worked with top stars like, Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Pierce Brosnan. His starred in popular cinema directed by highly talented persons like Satyajit Ray, James Ivory and Richard Attenborough. He is the first Indian to take Shakespearean plays on a tour to the United States. He is also the first Asian to receive British and Canadian Academy Awards nominations. And also the first Indian to receive the Order of the British Empire for his contributions to drama.
He has also served as the Radio Director (1951-1956) for All India Radio and Director of Publicity and Advertising at Government of India Tourist Office, U.S (1958-1960)
He was the first Indian actor to tour Shakespeare, taking his company across the United States
He was married to Madhur Jaffrey (divorced 1965). They have three daughters Meera, Zia, and Sakina Jaffrey, who is also an actor.
He also appeared in the long running British Soap Coronation Street for a short while.
The actor passed away on November 15 2015. The actor’s niece Shaheen Aggarwal took to the social networking site to pay an ode to this gem of a person! She 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 entire Jaffrey Family bids you, “adieu”, you beautiful, beautiful man. See you in heaven!”