British Black and Asian Shakespeare Performance Database
Involved in 18 productions. Has worked with 25 other people in this database.
"Only a few years before he came to Stratford Ben Kingsley was still Krishna Bhanji, son of an Indian dotor working in Salford and a mother of part-Russian origin. Why did he change his name and why choose Ben Kingsley? 'In those days it was very much a vogue for actors to take new names and in my case it was a positive necessity. My baptized name was a direct statement and, as it happened, a false one. Every casting director in the land would expect me to speak fluent Hindi and I didn't have a word of it. It was no major step: my father changed his name three times and thought nothing of it. The choice? In Salford everyone called my father Ben. It was an obvious selection. Kingsley stems from my grandfather, an altogether remarkable person. He was shipwrecked on the shores of Zanzibar as a child and adopted by a spice grower. He went into the trade and became vastly rich and successful, not least because of his acute sense of smell. He could open a pack of spice, take one sniff and put an immediate price on it. Throughout Zanzibar he was known as King Clove. King...Kingsley. It's a piece of homage.'" ~ John Higgins, "Making the most of fatal flaws" (interview with Ben Kingsley), The Times, 21 September 1985