Dino Shafeek

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Dino Shafeek
Shafeek as Ali Nadeem in Mind Your Language.
Born Gholam Mohnddin D. Shafeek
21 March 1930
Dacca, East Bengal, ( later Pakistan,now Bangladesh), British India
Died 10 March 1984 (aged 53)
London, England
Cause of death
Heart Attack
Nationality Bangladeshi
Other names Dino Shaffer
Ethnicity Bihari/Bengali
Citizenship British
Education Bachelor of Arts
Alma mater Dacca University
Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Occupation Actor
Years active 1967–1983
Known for Chai Wallah Muhammed in It Ain't Half Hot Mum (1974-1981),
Ali Nadim in Mind Your Language (1977-1979)
Style Comedy
Religion Islam

Dino Shafeek (occasionally known as Dino Shaffer) (21 March 1930 – 10 March 1984) was a Bangladeshi actor and comedian based in the United Kingdom and the star or co-star of several popular English TV comedies during the 1970s and early 1980s. He is best remembered for playing the part of Chai Wallah Muhammed in the BBC sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum as well as the role of Ali Nadim in ITV sitcom Mind Your Language.

Early life[edit]

Shafeek was born in Dacca, East Bengal (now Bangladesh), British India. He came from a poor family though little else is known of his early life. He went on to matriculate from a high school in Dhaka and then attended Dacca University where he gained a Bachelor of Arts.[citation needed] During this time, Shafeek became very active in amateur theater in Dhaka. In the 1950s, he came to England and enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.[citation needed]


Due to his inexperience Shafeek struggled to find fulfilling acting roles after graduating from Guildhall School. He was largely confined to playing minor supporting parts such as immigrants, taxi drivers, tourists or customs officials. His first film role was as ‘Akbar’ in the film The Long Duel (1967), starring Yul Brynner.[citation needed]

It Ain't Half Hot Mum[edit]

In the series written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, the creators of Dad's Army and set in World War II British India, Shafeek plays “Chai wallah Muhammad.” The series aired on the BBC from 1974–1981 and starred Windsor Davies as the loud-mouthed staff sergeant-major of the Royal Artillery barracks in Deolali, Bombay Presidency and Michael Bates as the “Hon.Bearer to the British Concert Party” Rangi Ram.

'Muhammed the chai wallah walks around the camp all day, selling tea from his urn with his catchphrase “”chai garam chai.” We can also hear him sing the musical interruptions between the scenes, which are mostly popular World War II era hits, accompanied by a sitar. At the end of the credits he starts to sing “Land of Hope and Glory” only to be interrupted by the Sergeant-major shouting his ubiquitous “SHUTUPPP!!!.”[citation needed] He was promoted to bearer when bearer Rangi Ram left the series (Michael Bates died after Series 5). Comedy is provided by the caustic though affectionate relationship between Muhammad and his superior Rangi Ram, with Rangi frequently calling him “you damn fool.”[citation needed]

Mind Your Language[edit]

During the run of It Ain't Half Hot Mum he played the part of Pakistani student Ali Nadim in the popular if politically somewhat incorrect ITV/London Weekend Television sitcom Mind Your Language (1977–79). Shafeek played as Ali Nadim on the show along with Barry Evans and a motley group of foreigners in a London night-school “English as a second language class”. Nadim was a Pakistani living in the United Kingdom. In the show, Ali Nadim was frequently seen quarreling with Ranjeet Singh (Albert Moses), a Sikh from India. Ali called Ranjeet names like “poppadum” and frequently tells him that he will “Kick him up the Khyber” ("Khyber Pass" being truncated rhyming slang for "ass") and calls him a “damn fool.” In the early episodes this relationship is depicted as quite caustic with the characters frequently having verbal and occasionally physical arguments, but the relationship warms as the series progresses and becomes positively friendly towards in the later episodes.

Ali is a character who speaks more than he is required to on some occasions, for example in the episode “The Best Things In Life,” he unwittingly tells the sergeant that Mr Brown was trying to bribe him. He is usually the last to arrive in class and jovially enters the room with the cry “Hello everybodys” and appears to be unaware that Mr Brown finds this habit annoying. Ali Nadim also pronounces Excuse me please as “Squeeze me please.”

Other roles[edit]

Due to the world-wide syndication of the aforementioned sitcoms, Shafeek became a well-known character actor and comedian to both British and international audiences. He played character parts in films and TV such as Carry On Emmannuelle, Minder and The Onedin Line.

His last role was in High Road to China starring Tom Selleck.



Year Title Role Notes
1967 Softly, Softly Anwar 2 episodes: The Target: Part 1: Sighted, The Target: Part 2: Point Blank
1968 The Jazz Age Abas 1 episode: The Outstation
The Champions Manservant 1 episode: The Dark Island
1969 The Troubleshooters Abdhul 1 episode: You're Not Going to Believe This, But...
Special Branch Majid 1 episode: The Promised Land
1971 The Mind of Mr. J.G. Reeder 2nd Priest 1 episode: Man with a Strange Tattoo
The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes Ali 1 episode: The Duchess of Wiltshire's Diamonds
1974 ...And Mother Makes Five Gypsy 1 episode: If I Can Help Somebody
1976 Centre Play Demonstrator 1 episode: Commonwealth Season: Trinidad - Home Sweet India
1977 The Onedin Line Jaun 1 episode: When Troubles Come
The Fuzz 1st Pakistani 1 episode: Coppers Under the Sun
1977-1979 Mind Your Language Ali Nadim 29 episodes
1979 Hazell Raiji 1 episode: Hazell Bangs the Drum
1980 Minder Mini Cab Driver 1 episode: All About Scoring, Innit?
1974-1981 It Ain't Half Hot Mum Chai Wallah Muhammed 56 episodes
1981 Into the Labyrinth Suleiman 1 episode: Shadrach


Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Long Duel Akbar
1968 The Charge of the Light Brigade Indian servant
1972 Young Winston Sikh Soldier
1976 Queen Kong Indian
1977 Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers Indian watchman
1978 Carry On Emmannuelle Immigration Officer
1983 High Road to China Satvinda


Dino Shafeek suddenly died from a heart attack on March 10, 1984.

See also[edit]

Known for[edit]

Starring in It Ain't Half Hot Mum and Mind your language

External links[edit]