Remembering Saeed Jaffrey

Film Screening: Shatranj Ke Khilari

Time:06:00 pm

When and Where

Date:15 November 2016
Time:06:00 pm
Organizer: ICCR
Location: London

Share this Event

Saeed Jaffrey’s career began in India, where he was born, and after obtaining an M.A. in History, formed his own English theatre company playing in productions of Shakespeare, Wilde, Priestley, Fry, Dylan Thomas and Tennessee Williams. He went to America as a Fulbright scholar to obtain an M.A. in Drama. He became the first Indian actor to tour and perform Shakespeare across the United States, and to appear in a major role on Broadway, playing Godbole in ‘A Passage to India’. Another tour of America followed in Brecht on Brecht and another “first” was the radio series ‘Reflections of India’, written and narrated for the New York Times. His recording of Kama Sutra, Art of Love, was listed by Time magazine as "one of the five best spoken word records ever.”

For BBC’s World Service he wrote and broadcast scripts in Hindi, Urdu and English. He acted in scores of plays for BBC Radio Four and in 1997 the World Service broadcast his rendering of Vikram Seth's ‘A Suitable Boy’ in which he played all 86 characters! He also narrated and played all 46 characters in ‘The Silver Castle’! He was a regular in the BBC Asian Network Silver Street.

Saeed’s first starring role in an international film was as Billy Fish in The Man Who Would Be King. Other films include The Guru, Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie’s Pictures, Courtesans of Bombay and The Deceivers. In The Wilby Conspiracy he played opposite Michael Caine and Sidney Poitier. He won a BAFTA nomination for his role as Nasser in My Beautiful Laundrette. Sir Richard Attenborough loved his Patel in Gandhi, and Sir David Lean cast him as Hamidullah in A Passage to India. He played three leads in the Canadian film Masala and the drunken lead in After Midnight. Masala won him not only rave reviews but also the Best Actor nomination for The Genie - the Canadian Oscar.

His first Indian film was Satyajit Ray’s ‘The Chess players’ ( Shatranj Ke Khilari ) and since then he starred in over one hundred Indian films, becoming a much-loved household name.

He was the first Asian to receive British and Canadian film award nominations. In 1995 he was awarded an OBE in recognition of his services to drama, the first Asian to receive this honour. He was posthumously conferred with Padma Shri award in January 2016. 

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, International Casting Director Jennifer Jaffrey, who also Managed Saeed’s career since 1993.

In memory of Late Saeed Jaffrey and to commemorate his first death anniversary, The Nehru Centre will screen the film ‘Shatranj Ke Khilari ‘. 

Mrs. Jennifer Jaffrey will be present at the screening. 

Duration of Film: 129 minutes.

Registration has closed.