Late Saeed Jaffrey is today fondly remembered by his Bollywood friends for two main things- his brilliant acting and impeccable British mannerisms. We spoke to a few film personalities who had worked with the octogenarian.
Also read: Veteran actor Saeed Jaffrey, 86, passes away
Jackie Shroff: He was such a beautiful and affectionate person. We had a great time working in Ram Lakhan. I am pained to learn that he is no more. The way he used to speak and conduct, he was dignity personified.
Madhur Bhandarkar – I had the good fortune of interacting with him during my AD days. He was very extrovert and vibrant as a person. He was very humorous, entertaining and a people’s person. I regret not getting a chance of directing him. I still remember watching Ram Teri Ganga Maili in Gaiety and his dialogue to Khulbhushan Kharbanda, ‘Agar Viren ko kuch ho gaya toh kundali palat kar rakh doonga.’ That was a true euphoric moment.
Adi Irani (TV actor): I acted with him in Dil. He was more of an Englishman than Indian. He was very particular about what he would be doing. He had a typical Hollywood style of working. Finally, he had to get used to our Indian style. He was a very down to earth person and never had any airs about himself.
Ayub Khan (TV actor): I worked with him in my first film Salaami. He was very British in his ways and we used love listening to him talk in his British style. He always had a lot of anecdotes that he used to regale us with on sets. As a newcomer, it was a privilege working with a very accomplished actor like him.
Johnyy Lever: I am shocked to hear about his loss. I had worked with Saeed bhai in three films Judaai, Deewana Mastana and Jaan. Ek dum angrez aadmi the. He walked and spoke like an elegant British gentleman. He was very warm and friendly and I loved working with him. RIP
Dalip Tahil: I had a great association with Saeed Saab. He was such a fabulous person. So well read and wise. As an actor, he was a pioneer and was the first true crossover Asian actor who worked in Hollywood with top stars like Sean Connery and Michael Caine and open the floodgates for other Asian and Indian actors. My deepest condolences to his family.
Kiran Kumar – I will always miss my Khan baba from Heena days. He was such a cultured dignified soul. He always got into the skin of his characters. We used to sit and discuss scenes together.
Upasana Singh: We worked together in two films. He was an avid reader. I always saw him with a book in his hand. The thing that I admired about him the most was his respect for women. I was a newcomer when I worked with him. Despite being a senior actor, he used to always offer me his seat. He deeply respected women.
S. Ramachandran (veteran film journalist): Saeed Jaffrey was a man who never stopped speaking his mind. When I met him when he was bestowed the Order of British Empire (OBE), the first Indian to get the honour, he was honest. He spoke about how he had doubled up at the sales counter at Harrod’s while working for the BBC and how he had to wear a coat and tie and pretend to be a customer when co-star Ingrid Bergman visited the store.