Remembered for his roles in the British situation comedies Mind Your Language (as Ali Nadim) and It Ain't Half Hot Mum (as Chai Wallah Muhammed), he also appeared in such popular series as The Onedin Line and Minder, and in such films as Queen Kong and High Road to China.
After graduating from London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he made his screen debut in the 1967 Yul Brynner movie The Long Duel.
He received his undergraduate education at the University of Dhaka.
He grew up in a poor, Muslim family in British-controlled East Bengal (present-day Bangladesh).
He co-starred with Windsor Davies in the late 1970s and early 1980s BBC series It Ain't Half Hot Mum.