When the history of Indian actors who have managed to be included in foreign productions is written, luminaries like Saeed Jaffrey, Shashi Kapoor, Roshan Seth and Irrfan are likely to have whole chapters devoted to them. Lesser-known professionals who will be lucky if they get more than a paragraph’s worth of mention include Marc Zuber.
Indian audiences of a certain vintage will remember Zuber as the rakish and rugged anti-hero from the movies of the 1980s. His most prominent role was in Vinod Pande’s Yeh Nazdeekiyan (1982), one of many movies in the ’80s to examine marital infidelity. Zuber starred opposite Parveen Babi and Shabana Azmi, and it was his first leading role after having spent over a decade in the United Kingdom in small parts on the stage and in television and films.
Yeh Nazdeekiyan did nothing for Zuber’s career as a leading man. He followed up with roles in nondescript movies with such loaded titles as Kanoon Meri Mutthi Mein (1984), Aurat Pair Ki Juti Nahin Hai (1985) and Shingora (1986), in which he enjoys a romp with Persis Khambatta, another actor who had a brief run in Hollywood.
One of Zuber’s better-known films is RK Nayyar’s murder mystery Qatl (1986), starring Sanjeev Kumar as a blind man, Sarika as his unfaithful wife, and Zuber as the lover.
Despite his striking looks, Zuber remained on the sidelines whether in India or the United Kingdom until his death on May 28, 2003. He was born on May 5, 1944, in Lucknow, and was brought up in London. Little is known about him, apart from the fact that he began his career on the stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
In the television film A Kiss Is Just A Kiss (1971), Zuber got a bit role as a radio operator. This led to several minor television roles. His film debut was in 1973 in The Satanic Rites of Dracula, starring Christopher Lee in the titular role. Zuber was cast as a guard. He appeared in several blink-and-miss roles, including in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) – he is listed as an interrogator in possibly the opening sequence – and the British romantic comedy Shirley Valentine (1989).
In a bizarre turn of events, Zuber’s last listed film role was in the Muhammed Ali Jinnah biopic that starred Christopher Lee. Zuber plays Muhammad Iqbal in Jamil Dehlavi’s controversial biographical film Jinnah, which drew flak for the casting of Lee over Pakistani actors.