Dino Shafeek

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Dino Shafeek
Shafeek as Ali Nadim in Mind Your Language.
Born Gholam D. Shafeek
(1930-03-21)21 March 1930
Dacca, East Bengal, British India
Died 10 March 1984(1984-03-10) (aged 53)
London, England
Cause of death Heart attack
Nationality Bangladeshi
Other names Dino Shaffer
Citizenship British
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

Dino Shafeek (born Gholam D. Shafeek, 21 March 1930 – 10 March 1984) was a Bangladeshi actor. Born and raised in Dacca, East Bengal, he moved to the UK from East Pakistan in 1958 and developed an acting career by starring in several hit sitcoms 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 and Education[edit]

Dino Shafeek was born Gholam D. Shafeek in Dacca (now Dhaka), East Bengal, British India (now Bangladesh) in a reputed family from Old Dacca. His father was Golam Merajuddin Shafeek, whose occupation was listed as "sugar technologist". After completing school, he went to Dacca University and graduated with a BA.


Shafeek was involved with amateur theatre in Dacca and very much fond of acting, so he emigrated to England in 1958 and enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. 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]

It Ain't Half Hot Mum was a BBC comedy series written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, the creators of Dad's Army. Set in World War II British India, it follows the fortunes and activities of a concert party troop attached to the Royal Artillery. The series aired on the BBC from 1974 to 1981 and starred Windsor Davies as the loud-mouthed staff sergeant-major of the troop's barracks in Deolali, Bombay Presidency. Michael Bates starred as Rangi Ram, the Hindu "Bearer to the British Concert Party" .

Shafeek plays "Chaiwallah Muhammad", selling tea from his ever-ready urn with his catchphrase "chai garam chai (Eng. 'tea, hot tea')." He also sings the musical interludes between the scenes, which are mostly popular World War II era hits accompanied by a sitar. At the end of the final credits he starts to sing "Land of Hope and Glory" only to be interrupted by the Sergeant-major shouting his ubiquitous ear-shattering "SHUTUPPP!!!."[1] Muhammad was later promoted to bearer when Rangi Ram left the series (Michael Bates died after Series 5). The caustic though affectionate relationship between Muhammad and his superior Rangi Ram provides additional comedy through their representations of the different religions and castes in colonial WWII India.

Mind Your Language[edit]

During the run of It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Shafeek played the part of student Ali Nadim in the popular if politically somewhat incorrect ITV/London Weekend Television sitcom Mind Your Language (1977–79). Along with Barry Evans as their teacher, Ali was one of a lively group of foreigners in an English as a Foreign Language class at a London night-school. Ali was a Muslim Pakistani who had immigrated to the United Kingdom, and was frequently seen bickering with Ranjeet Singh (Albert Moses), a Sikh from India. Ali called Ranjeet names like "poppadum", frequently calls him a "damn fool" and tells him that he will "kick [him] up the Khyber" ("Khyber Pass" being rhyming slang for "arse"). This antagonistic relationship is depicted regularly throughout the early episodes, with the characters frequently having verbal and occasionally physical arguments but as the series progresses, their relationship mellows into one of friendly and mutual supportiveness.

Ali also has a habit of verbalising more than he is required (or advised) to, for example in the episode "The Best Things in Life," he unwittingly tells the police sergeant that Mr Brown was trying to bribe him. He is invariably the last student to arrive in class and jovially bursts into the room of settled and attentive students with a cheery greeting of "Hello everybodys" seemingly unaware that Mr Brown finds this habit irritating. Ali also had a catchphrase whereby he pronounces "Excuse me please" as "Squeeze me please" most noticeably when certain female students are in close proximity.

Other roles[edit]

Due to the worldwide syndication of the aforementioned sitcoms, Shafeek became a well-known character actor 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
1982 The Stanley Baxter Hour 1 episode: Christmas special


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 Uncredited
1977 Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers Indian watchman
1978 Carry On Emmannuelle Immigration Officer
1983 High Road to China Satvinda (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
1967 A Touch of Brightness Pidku Royal Court Theatre, London
1968 In the Penal Colony The Prisoner Arts Laboratory, Drury Lane, London; adaptation by Steven Berkoff
1970 To Anchor a Cloud Asaf Khan King George's Theatre, London
1971 Captain Brassbound's Conversion Hassan Cambridge Theatre, London
1977 A Clean Break Anwar Hassan Ravi Shankar Hall, London
1979 It Ain't Half Hot Mum Char Wallah Muhammad Stage adaptation of TV series; regional tour commencing at Pier Theatre, Bournemouth
1980 Dick Whittington and His Cat London Palladium, London
1981 Dick Whittington and His Cat London Palladium, London
1982 Gandhi Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn, London
It Ain't Half Hot Mum Char Wallah Muhammad Stage adaptation of TV series; regional tour commencing at Futurist Theatre, Scarborough
Dick Whittington Sultan of Morocco Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol



Year Title Label/Cat No Notes
1975 It Ain't Half Hot Mum – Featuring the Artists from the Popular BBC-TV Series EMI Records EMC 3074 Appears as Chai Wallah Muhammad
1983 Tony Fayne's Back Rosie Records RR 008 Guest appearance


Dino Shafeek died suddenly from a heart attack at his home in London on 10 March 1984, eleven days before his 54th birthday.

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