British Indian actor goes missing in London

LONDON: Scotland Yard has issued an appeal for British Indian actor Paul Bhattacharjee after he went missing in mysterious circumstances following a rehearsal for a stage production in London’s West End.

The 53-year-old is best known for his turn in the James Bond film “Casino Royale”. He also uses the name Gautam Paul Bhattacharjee and is a popular stage and television actor in Britain.

He was last seen at London’s Royal CourtTheatre on July 10 and sent a text message to his girlfriend at 9pm that night, but no one has heard from him since.

“This is totally out of character for Mr Bhattacharjee, who has appeared in numerous television and stage productions as well as films, most recently in ‘Dirty Pretty Things’, ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’,”Metropolitan police said in their appeal.

“Mr Bhattacharjee is an Asian male of slim build and 6-feet tall with short grey hair. He was wearing light coloured trousers, a blue shirt, light coloured shoes and he had a black backpack with him,” the appeal said.

Bhattacharjee was captured on CCTV footage walking from the stage door area of the theatre up an external alleyway. He turned left as if “walking towards Sloane Square tube station”, it said.

He was in the Royal Court’s company of 14 actors performing in the weekly rep series, which sees six plays staged in six weeks. He had already appeared in two plays, including “The President Has Come to See You”, in which he played the president of Georgia who is on the run and hiding in his citizens’ homes.

His role in “Talk Show”, which begins on Tuesday night, has now been recast.

“He left last Wednesday in good spirits but didn’t make it to rehearsals the next day,” a spokesperson for the theatre said.

Bhattacharjee played a doctor in “Casino Royale” (2006) and his TV work includes popular British soaps like “EastEnders” and “The Bill”.

He lived between India and Britain during his childhood and is now based in Redbridge, northeast London.

TV star Stephen Fry joined hundreds of people on Twitter to express concern over Bhattacherjee’s whereabouts.