Roshan Seth

Roshan Seth
Born (1942-04-02) 2 April 1942 (age 77)
Alma materThe Doon School
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Years active1972–present

Roshan Seth is an Indian-born British actor, who appears mainly in British and American films.[1] Best known for his role as antagonist Chattar Lal in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Jawaharlal Nehru in Gandhi, he is also noted for his critically acclaimed performances as in the films Mississippi Masala, Not Without My Daughter, My Beautiful Laundrette, Such a Long Journey, and Street Fighter: The Movie.

Early life

Seth was born in Patna, Bihar, India, to a Muslim Anglo-Indian mother and a Hindu father.[2][3] His father was a biochemistry professor at Patna Medical College.[4] 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.[5] He attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in British repertory theatre.[6]


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), but because subsequent filmmakers only wanted Seth for ethnic roles, his career abruptly stalled.

Discouraged, he abandoned acting and returned to India, where he worked as an editor and journalist until the early 1980s, when Richard Attenborough asked Seth to play Jawaharlal Nehru in Gandhi (1982). Seth was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in the film.[7] Seth also played Jawaharlal Nehru in Bharat Ek Khoj, a 53-episode series on Doordarshan in 1988.

Also in 1982, Seth played Indian author Victor Mehta in David Hare's biographical play, A Map of the World, which 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.[7]

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

Seth was married to author Pepita Seth, but they separated in the late 1980s and divorced in 2004.[8][9] His brother is the retired Indian diplomat Aftab Seth.[10]


Year Title Role Notes
1974 Juggernaut Azad
1982 Gandhi Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Chattar Lal
A Passage to India Advocate Amrit Rao
1985 My Beautiful Laundrette Papa Hussein
1987 Partition
The Happy Valley Defense Solicitor TV
1988 Little Dorrit Mr. Pancks
Bharat Ek Khoj As anchor and author
1989 In Which Annie Gives it Those Ones Y.D. Billimoria / Yamdoot
Slipstream George
1990 Mountains of the Moon Ben Amir
1871 Lord Grafton
1991 Not Without My Daughter Houssein
Mississippi Masala Jay
London Kills Me Dr. Bubba
1992 Stalin Lavrentiy Beria
Electric Moon Ranveer
1993 The Buddha of Suburbia Haroon Amir
1994 Street Fighter Dhalsim
1995 Bideshi Ajoy
Solitaire for 2 Sandip Tamar
1997 The Journey Kishan Singh
1998 Such a Long Journey Gustad Noble
Bombay Boys Pesi Shroff
1999 The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Tales of Innocence Sheikh Kamal
Secret of the Andes Don Benito
2000 Vertical Limit Colonel Amir Salim
2001 Monsoon Wedding Mohan Rai
Wings of Hope Shekar Khanna
South West 9 Ravi
2003 Cosmopolitan Gopal
2004 Se sarà luce sarà bellissimo Aldo Moro
Spivs Omar
2005 Frozen Noyen
Proof Professor Bhandari
2006 Kabul Express Narrator Voice
2007 Broken Thread Chief of Enquiry Commission
Guru Thapar
Amal Suresh Gupta
2008 The Cheetah Girls: One World Uncle Kamal Bhatia
2010 The Truth About Tigers Narrator
2011 Trishna Mr. Singh
2012 Ek Tha Tiger Professor Kidwai
2013 Brahmin Bulls Ashok Sharma
The Lovers Sadhu
2016 City of Tiny Lights Farzad Akhtar
2019 Dumbo Pramesh Singh


Year Title Role Notes Web Links
1988 Bharat Ek Khoj Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru An Indian TV Series
2003 Second Generation Sharma (A Mentally Challenged bakery factory owner) A British TV Serial https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380693/fullcredits#cast
2015 Indian Summers Darius Dalal A British TV Serial https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3706628/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm


  1. ^ Audio interview with Seth on NPR's All Things Considered, 3 June 2004
  2. ^ Lumley, Elizabeth (2001). Canadian Who's Who 2001. p. 1166. ISBN 0-8020-4958-3.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Requiem for a rainbow: a Fijian Indian story – Satendra Pratap Nandan – Google Books
  6. ^ BFI Screenonline: Seth, Roshan (1942–) Biography
  7. ^ a b "Awards for Roshan Seth". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 24 January 2009.
  8. ^ Manmadhan, Prema (6 December 2008). "A Malayali in spirit". The Hindu.
  9. ^ De, Shobhaa (14 March 2004). "Stories around my dining table". Mid-Day. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
  10. ^ Requiem for a rainbow: a Fijian Indian story – Satendra Pratap Nandan – Google Books

External links

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