We’re counting down the 40 days to NYWIFT’s 40th Anniversary Muse Awards with a look at some of our favorite honorees, all women of vision and achievement who have contributed to the film and television industry. Join us as we look back at #Muse40for40, and buy your tickets for the Muse Awards on Tuesday, December 10th at nywift.org/muse!
#7: Madhur Jaffrey
By Natascha Bodemann
Actress, food and travel writer, cookbook author, and television personality Madhur Jaffrey began her illustrious career in Delhi, India, where she performed in school Shakespeare plays and dramas on All India Radio, eventually appearing in acclaimed theatrical productions on the Indian stage. After winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Jaffrey moved to England where, disappointed in post-war British cooking, she begged her mother to send recipes for her favorite Indian dishes. A few years later, in New York, director Ismail Merchant would cast Madhur in Shakespeare-Wallah, earning her the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival.
Other notable films include Six Degrees of Separation, Wolf, and Vanya on 42nd Street. Madhur has appeared in TV series such as EastEnders and Law and Order, and starred in theater productions including the Royal Court’s Last Dance at Dum Dum, Medea at the Lyric, Hammersmith, and Bombay Dreams on Broadway. Jaffrey has authored several acclaimed cookbooks, including An Invitation to Indian Cooking (1973), which was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame. In 2004 she was named an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
“When you are on television, say cooking, you need all your acting a bit. You need that confidence that you get to stand alone, speak sentences without being afraid, have the ability to reach somebody that you’re talking to, take your pauses when you want to take your pauses. That comes from training, the training for an actress.”
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