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It was the early 60s when a young Indian, Waris Hussein, fresh out of Cambridge and the prestigious Slade School of Art, where he studied theatre design, became the first director of Indian origin to be appointed to the Drama Department of BBC Television where he was the youngest director that the BBC had ever had.

Indian directors were unknown then, and the subcontinent did not figure in the entertainment and cultural milieu of the Western world. Films by Indian-born directors such as Bandit Queen, Elizabeth and The Sixth Sense had not even been thought of or imagined.

Born in Lucknow, India, Waris always knew he wanted to be a director. At age nine, he accompanied his parents when they moved to England. His mother was the writer, Attia Hosain, his father, Ali Bahadur Habibullah, an Indian diplomat.

He made his feature film debut in 1969 with A Touch of Love, based on Margaret Drabble’s novel “The Millstone”, the British entry at the Berlin Film Festival, and followed this with Quackser Fortune has a Cousin the Bronx (1970), set in Ireland; Melody, (1971) produced by David Puttnam, a first for both Waris and Puttnam – and a film which became a great hit, not only in England but even in far-flung countries such as Japan and South America; and Henry the Eighth and His Six Wives (1973)- which was selected for a Royal Command Film Performance.

The Possession of Joe Delaney, with Shirely MacLaine, dealing with the theme of the supernatural, became a cult film and inspired several others that followed it.

Waris ran the whole gamut of the entertainment world – actor with the Nottingham Playhouse, director of TV Serials, Television Films, Feature Films, in the UK, America and finally India, where in 1997, he filmed and directed Sixth Happiness, adapted from the novel “Trying to Grow” by Firdaus Kanga.

He has gone on to win accolades for his work in both features and movies for television. He has won multiple awards and many of his television series have had the highest ratings among viewers both in the UK and the USA. Many of the actors in his productions, too, have been nominated and won awards for their performances.

Waris moved to the USA in the 80s, at the behest of the great American theatre actress Colleen Dewhurst, whom he directed both for the theatre and television.

He is the first Indian to have directed a play at the National Theatre, London; the first to have won BAFTA and Emmy awards. In a distinguished career spanning three decades, and three continents, there is no subject that he has not dealt with, no genre that he has left untouched, in every sense of the word – a director with vision for all generations.

He has worked with some of the finest talent in the UK, USA and in Europe: Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Dame Sybil Thorndike, Ian McKellen, Joan Plowright, Janet Suzman, Jeanne Moreau, Claire Bloom, Francesca Annis and Claudia Cardinale. He has directed stars such as Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins, Shirley Maclaine, Donald Sutherland, Colleen Dewhurst, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ann Margret, Angela Lansbury, Gene Wilder, Ben Gazzara, Willy Nelson, Maureen Stapleton and Sandy Dennis.