Denzil Smith is a versatile Anglo-Indian actor with an extensive film and theatre career, spanning over 30 years, known for playing the role of Jinnah in Viceroy’s House (2017), The Lunchbox (2013), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015), the television series Delhi Crime (2019) and P.O.W. Bandi Yuddh Ke (2016-17) as Lala for which he won the Indian Television Academy Award Best Actor in a Negative Role (2017).
Based in Mumbai, Smith began his acting career on stage in 1988 with Pearl Padamsee’s Les Liaisons Dangereuse where he first worked with Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak, becoming a member of Shah’s Motley Productions. By 1998, he also began working extensively with Lilette Dubey’s PrimeTime Theatre in productions such as On a Muggy Night in Mumbai, Sammy, August: Osage County and Gauhar about the life of Gauhar Jaan. These plays toured both India and various cities in North America, UK and Europe, South-East Asia and Australia. Most recently he worked with British director Melly Still on Agatha’s Christie’s The Mirror Crack’d in the leading role of Superintendent Daniel D’Mello which premiered at the NCPA, Mumbai.
In 2007, Smith joined All Star Artists for the Broadway style musical production The Merchants of Bollywood – in the lead role of the grandfather, Shantilal, and then later a double role of narrator and Bollywood director Tony Bakshi. There were 600 shows between 2007 and 2009 in the UK, Europe and Malaysia. He returned for a run in the UK and Lebanon in 2016, then again in Kuwait in 2018.
One of Smith’s early films was Mango Soufflé (2002), which was promoted as “first gay male film from India.” He then went on to play a range of characters from a Tibetan Monk in Paap (2003), gangster against Amitabh Bachchan in Ek Ajnabee (2005), professor in Braman Naman (2016) and Marathi film Manjha (2017), Manipuri militant in Disney’s Jagga Jasoos (2017), comedic villain in Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi (2018) and detective in Badla (2019).
More recently, Smith has returned to the small screen with Netflix’s Delhi Crime (2019) , P.O.W. Bandi Yuddh Ke (2016-17), Made in Heaven (2019, S1, E6), The Good Karma Hospital (2019, S3, 22) and as the Maharaja of Kalyan in the British series Beecham House (2019).