Roshan Seth

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.

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

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]


1982GandhiPandit Jawaharlal Nehru
1984Indiana Jones and the Temple of DoomChattar Lal
A Passage to IndiaAdvocate Amrit Rao
1985My Beautiful LaundrettePapa Hussein
The Happy ValleyDefense SolicitorTV
1988Little DorritMr. Pancks
Bharat Ek KhojAs anchor and author
1989In Which Annie Gives it Those OnesY.D. Billimoria / Yamdoot
1990Mountains of the MoonBen Amir
1871Lord Grafton
1991Not Without My DaughterHoussein
Mississippi MasalaJay
London Kills MeDr. Bubba
1992StalinLavrentiy Beria
Electric MoonRanveer
1993The Buddha of SuburbiaHaroon Amir
1994Street FighterDhalsim
Solitaire for 2Sandip Tamar
1997The JourneyKishan Singh
1998Such a Long JourneyGustad Noble
Bombay BoysPesi Shroff
1999The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Tales of InnocenceSheikh Kamal
Secret of the AndesDon Benito
2000Vertical LimitColonel Amir Salim
2001Monsoon WeddingMohan Rai
Wings of HopeShekar Khanna
South West 9Ravi
2004Se sarà luce sarà bellissimoAldo Moro
ProofProfessor Bhandari
2006Kabul ExpressNarratorVoice
2007Broken ThreadChief of Enquiry Commission
AmalSuresh Gupta
2008The Cheetah Girls: One WorldUncle Kamal Bhatia
2010The Truth About TigersNarrator
2011TrishnaMr. Singh
2012Ek Tha TigerProfessor Kidwai
2013Brahmin BullsAshok Sharma
The LoversSadhu
2016City of Tiny LightsFarzad Akhtar
2019DumboPramesh Singh


YearTitleRoleNotesWeb Links
1988Bharat Ek KhojPt. Jawaharlal NehruAn Indian TV Series
2003Second GenerationSharma (A Mentally Challenged bakery factory owner)A British TV Serial
2015Indian SummersDarius DalalA British TV Serial


  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. "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
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