Roshan Seth

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Roshan Seth

Born (1942-04-02) 2 April 1942 (age 79)
Alma materThe Doon School
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
OccupationActor, writer, theatre director
Years active1961–present

Roshan Seth OBE[1] (born 2 April 1942) is a British-Indian actor, writer and theatre director who has worked in the United Kingdom, United States and India.[2] He began his acting career in the early 1960s in the UK, but left acting the following decade and moved to India to work as a journalist. In the 1980s, he rose to prominence for his comeback performance as Jawaharlal Nehru in Richard Attenborough's Academy Award-winning film Gandhi, which brought him a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and reignited his interest in acting.

He has since appeared in numerous British and American feature films and television programmes, with roles ranging from Chattar Lal in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Amit Rao in A Passage to India, Papa Hussein in My Beautiful Laundrette, patriarch Jay in Mississippi Masala and Dhalsim in Street Fighter: The Movie. He won the Genie Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the Canadian film Such a Long Journey. Other projects he has appeared include Bharat Ek Khoj, Not Without My Daughter, The Buddha of Suburbia, Vertical Limit, Monsoon Wedding, Proof, Ek Tha Tiger, Indian Summers and Dumbo.

Early life[edit]

Seth was born on 2 April 1942 in Patna, Bihar Province, British India, to a Muslim Anglo-Indian mother and a Hindu father.[3][4] His father was a biochemistry professor at Patna Medical College.[5] He was educated at The Doon School, then did graduate studies in History at St Stephen's College. There, he honed his theatrical skills at the Shakespeare Society, before moving to England for further training.[6] He trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 1965 and started working in British television and repertory theatre.[7][8]


Seth's first break came in Peter Brook's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which toured in 1972. Seth entered feature films in Richard Lester's Juggernaut (1974). However, subsequent filmmakers only wanted Seth for limited ethnic roles, so that his career stalled.[8]

Discouraged, Seth abandoned acting and returned to India in 1977, where he worked as a journalist and editor of the quarterly journal published by the India International Centre, Delhi. He took leave from this job after Richard Attenborough asked Seth to play Jawaharlal Nehru in Gandhi (1982).[8] Seth was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in the film.[9] Seth subsequently also played Jawaharlal Nehru in Bharat Ek Khoj, a 53-episode series on Doordarshan in 1988.

David Hare met Seth in Delhi in 1982, and asked him to play author Victor Mehta in Hare's biographical play A Map of the World. Seth left his editing job and returned to acting.[8] A Map of the World toured for several years in Australia, London, and New York. After the release of the multi-award-winning movie Gandhi (1982), Seth was much in demand, and when A Map of the World's Broadway run finished, his movie career took off. His work in 1984 included major roles in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and David Lean's A Passage to India. Following that he played a lead in My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), and he played Pancks in Little Dorrit (1988).

Seth's film credits in the 1990s included roles in Not Without My Daughter (1991), Mississippi Masala (1991), Street Fighter (1994), and Harish Saluja's The Journey (1997). In 1993, he played the role of Haroon Amir in the television miniseries The Buddha of Suburbia, for which he was nominated a Royal Television Society award for "Best Actor – Male". In 1995, he played the role of Baba in Flight, for which he won the "Best Actor" award at the Sochi International Film Festival. In 1998, he played the leading role of Gustad Noble in the film Such a Long Journey, for which he won the Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.[9]

In 2001, Seth appeared in Monsoon Wedding and he has continued working steadily in British and American films. In 2003 he played the lead in the American film Cosmopolitan, which was broadcast nationally on PBS. He also recently returned to mainstream Indian cinema with his role in the 2012 film, Ek Tha Tiger.

Personal life[edit]

Seth was married to author Pepita Seth, but they separated in the late 1980s and divorced in 2004.[10][11] His brother is the retired Indian diplomat Aftab Seth.[12]



Year Title Role Director Notes
1974 Juggernaut Azad Richard Lester
1982 Gandhi Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Richard Attenborough Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Chattar Lal Steven Spielberg
A Passage to India Advocate Amrit Rao David Lean
1985 My Beautiful Laundrette Papa Hussein Stephen Frears
1987 Partition Ken McMullen
1988 Little Dorrit Mr. Pancks Christine Edzard
1989 Slipstream George Nyman Steven Lisberger
1990 Mountains of the Moon Ben Amir Bob Rafelson
1871 Lord Grafton Ken McMullen
1991 Not Without My Daughter Houssein Brian Gilbert
Mississippi Masala Jay Mira Nair
London Kills Me Dr. Bubba Hanif Kureishi
1992 Electric Moon Ranveer Pradip Krishen
1994 Street Fighter Dr. Dhalsim Steven E. de Souza
1995 Bideshi Ajoy Frances-Anne Solomon Short film
Solitaire for 2 Sandip Tamar Gary Sinyor
1997 The Journey Kishan Singh Harish Saluja
1998 Such a Long Journey Gustad Noble Sturla Gunnarsson Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Bombay Boys Pesi Shroff Kaizad Gustad
1999 Secret of the Andes Don Benito Alejandro Azzano
2000 Vertical Limit Col. Amir Salim Martin Campbell
2001 Monsoon Wedding Mohan Rai Mira Nair
Wings of Hope Shekar Khanna Werner Herzog
South West 9 Ravi Richard Parry
2004 Spivs Omar Colin Teague
Se sarà luce sarà bellissimo Aldo Moro Aurelio Grimaldi
2005 Frozen Noyen Juliet McKoen
Proof Professor Bhandari John Madden
2006 Kabul Express Narrator (voice) Kabir Khan
2007 Broken Thread Chief of Enquiry Commission Mahesh Mathai
Guru Thapar Mani Ratnam
Amal Suresh Gupta Richie Mehta
2010 The Truth About Tigers Narrator Shekar Dattatri Short film
2011 Trishna Mr. Singh Michael Winterbottom
2012 Ek Tha Tiger Professor Kidwai Kabir Khan
2013 Brahmin Bulls Ashok Sharma Mahesh Pailoor
The Lovers Sadhu Roland Joffé
2016 City of Tiny Lights Farzad Akhtar Pete Travis
2018 Boogie Man Rupesh Andy Morahan
2019 Dumbo Pramesh Singh Tim Burton


Year Title Role Notes
1964 Crossroads Dr. Ahmed
1966 Public Eye Soondra Episode: "Tell Me About the Crab"
1967 No Hiding Place Kuldip Mahal Episode: "The Game"
Theatre 625 Vinay Episode: "55 Columns"
1968-69 The Wednesday Play Ben Scalfe / Student 2 episodes
1969 Strange Report Jamal Episode: "Report 3424: Epidemic - A Most Curious Crime"
1971 The Doctors Bingi Singh Episode 1.88
1972 To Encourage the Others Jazwon Television film
1973 The Protectors Persuer Episode: "...With a Little Help From My Friends"
1975 Six Days of Justice Mr. Wood Episode: "Belonging"
General Hospital Dr. Narasjee Episode: "The White Rajah"
1976 Play for Today Dr. Milma Episode: "The Peddler"
Centre Play Anil Roy Episode: "Commonwealth Season: India - Apply, Apply, No Reply"
Crown Court Farooq Rana Episode: "A Matter of Honour: Part 1"
1987 The Happy Valley Defense Solicitor Television film
Emmerdale Howard 2 episodes
1988 First Born Dr. Antony Graham Episode 1.2
Deadline The Emir of Hawa Television film
Bharat Ek Khoj Jawaharlal Nehru Main cast; Series 1
1989 In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones Y.D. Billimoria / Yamdoot Television film
1992 Casualty Sujit Pratkash Episode: "Rates of Exchange"
Screen One Mr. Humphrey Episode: "Running Late"
Stalin Lavrentiy Beria Television film
1993 The Buddha of Suburbia Haroon Amir Television film

Nominated- Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor

1994 Siren Spirits Ajoy Miniseries; 2 episodes
1996 The Bill Ahmed Seth Episode: "Blood Brothers"
Dangerfield Aslam Choudhury Episode: "Treasure"
Die Flughafenklinik Dr. Tenshin Sharafi Episode: "Fluchthilfe"
1997 Turning World Dr. Khan 3 episodes
Flight Baba Television film
Food for Ravens Nehru
Grandpa Chatterjee Grandpa Chatterjee
1998 Iqbal Ulla Khasi
1999 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Sheikh Khamal Episode: "Tales of Innocence"
2001 Holby City Kushara Bandara Episode: "Tip of the Iceburg"
2003 Spooks Fazul Azzam Episode: "Nest of Angels"
Second Generation Mohan Television film
Silent Witness Afzal Khan Episode: Answering Fire
Cosmopolitan Gopal Television film
2004 Blue Murder Jameel Khan Episode: "Fragile Relations"
2005 The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag Pundit Television film
2007 The Last Days of the Raj Jawaharlal Nehru Television film
2008 The Cheetah Girls: One World Uncle Kamal Bhatia
2015-16 Indian Summers Darius Dalal Main cast; Series 1-2
2017 Diana and I Uncle Zaheer Television film
2019 Beecham House Emperor Shah Alam Main cast; Series 1
2021 Behind Her Eyes Dr. Sharma

Selected theatre credits[edit]


  1. ^ "Stanton Davidson Associates". Archived from the original on 12 August 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  2. ^ Audio interview with Seth Archived 31 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine on NPR's All Things Considered, 3 June 2004
  3. ^ Lumley, Elizabeth (2001). Canadian Who's Who 2001. p. 1166. ISBN 0-8020-4958-3.
  4. ^ Levin, Eric (28 October 1985). "By Deliberately Seeking Obscurity Indian Actor Roshan Seth Ensures His Magnetism Onstage". People. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016.
  5. ^ Carole Zucker (2002). Conversations with actors on film, television, and stage performance. Heinemann. p. 157. ISBN 0325003726. He came to Patna as a professor of biochemistry at the Patna Medical College.
  6. ^ Requiem for a rainbow: a Fijian Indian story – Satendra Pratap Nandan – Google Books
  7. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Seth, Roshan (1942–) Biography". Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2009.
  8. ^ a b c d Suman Bhuchar (2002). "Seth, Roshan". In Alison Donnell (ed.). Companion to Contemporary Black British Culture. Routledge. p. 276. ISBN 978-1-134-70025-7.
  9. ^ a b "Awards for Roshan Seth". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2009.
  10. ^ Manmadhan, Prema (6 December 2008). "A Malayali in spirit". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 19 June 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  11. ^ De, Shobhaa (14 March 2004). "Stories around my dining table". Mid-Day. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
  12. ^ Nandan, Satendra Pratap (2001). Requiem for a rainbow: a Fijian Indian story – Satendra Pratap Nandan – Google Books. ISBN 9780646415895. Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016.

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