Actor Ranjit Chowdhry died on Wednesday in Mumbai at the age of 65. The news was revealed on Instagram by theatre personality Raell Padamsee, his half-sister. He had reportedly been ailing for some time.
Born to theatre and film actor Pearl Padamsee, Chowdhry was associated with the middle cinema popularised by Basu Chatterjee and Hrishikesh Mukherjee in the 1970s. The boyish and curly-haired Chowdhry was in Chatterjee’s Khatta Meetha (1978) and Baaton Baaton Mein (1979), and Mukherjee’s Khoobsurat (1980).
After moving to the United States of America, Chowdhry appeared in American productions, many of which were directed by Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta. Chowdhury starred in Nair’s Mississippi Masala (1991) and Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996), among others. With Mehta, he worked in Sam & Me (1991), which he also wrote, and Fire (1996), in which he played the impish domestic help who spies on the characters played by Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das and informs their family about their romance.
In the 2000s, Chowdhry appeared in films such as Bollywood/Hollywood (2002), Kaante (2002) and the American television Prison Break and The Office.
Poorna Jagannathan and Deepa Mehta were among those who paid their tributes.