New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) Multifaceted India-born British actor Saeed Jaffrey, who passed away last year, was on Monday posthumously named for the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest civilian award.
Saeed was 86 when he passed away in London in November 2015.
Born in Malerkotla, Punjab, in 1929 in a Punjabi Muslim family, Saeed embarked on his career by starting a theatre company called Unity Theatre in New Delhi in the late 1950s.
An articulate and well read artiste, Saeed went on to found his own English language company, Unity Theatre, at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He also staged plays by English-language masters including William Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams, thus making him the first Indian actor to do so.
Thereafter, he went on to join filmdom and carved his own niche in the industry through his powerful performances in films like “Shatranj Ke Khilari”, “Chashme Buddoor”, “Masoom”, “Mandi”, “Mashaal”, “Ram Teri Ganga Maili”, “Chaalbaaz”, “Ram Lakhan” and “Deewana Mastana”.
Saeed was best known to the international audience for his roles in films like “Gandhi”, “The Man Who Would Be King”, “A Passage to India”, “The Horsemen” and “The Wilby Conspiracy”, among others. He appeared regularly on the British small screen in shows like “Gangsters”, “The Jewel in the Crown”, “Common as Muck” and “Coronation Street”.
He worked with many well known Indian and international filmmakers like Shekhar Kapur, Shyam Benegal, Raj Kapoor, Subhash Ghai, John Huston, James Ivory, David Lean, Richard Attenborough and Stephen Frears.
He was married to co-actress and travel writer Mehrunima (Madhur Jaffrey), but they parted ways in 1965. Together they have three daughters Meera, Zia and Sakina – who is also an actress.
Saeed later married casting director Jennifer Irene Sorrell in 1980.
Apart from Saeed, Rajasthan’s classical music icon Prakash Chand Surana has also been named for a posthumous Padma Shri.