Tumko Dekha to ye khayaal aya,
Zindagi dhoop aur tum ghanaa saya...
These and many more songs flash in my mind as I write about Farooq Sheikh. Having grown up on a healthy dose of parallel cinema, Farooq Sheikh is a name that features in some of my favourite movies.
As I read about his sudden death due to cardiac arrest, I was reminded of a slim guy with an honest face charming a simple Deepti Naval in the song “tum ko dekha”. In the 80s where “the angry young man” and disco dancer were ruling the hearts of the masses, here he was, a simple man, who didn’t mind posing as a rickshaw walla or a bangle seller to spend few moments in private with his lady love (Film: Bazaar)
He represented the common man, the guy next door, who may not boast of bulky biceps or swanky cars, but in whose company, any girl would feel the warmth of a genuine relationship.
But, that’s not all…
The actor who played the guy next door, essayed the role of a royal almost effortlessly. Who can forget his performance in movies like Umrao Jaan? The shy nawab curbed in the bounds of nawaabi, whose eyes said it all.
But shyness was not all, for there were movies like Katha, Faasle and Shatranj ke khiladi, which saw a different side of him. One also saw him occasionally in commercial movies like Biwi Ho to aisi and Noorie.
The 90s saw him making his presence felt on the television arena. It still gives immense delight to watch episodes of the famous “Ji Mantriji” and “Jeena issi ka naam hai” on youtube, even as channels have telecasted these popular shows over and over again.
In the 2000s, he became selective about movies however, gave us movies of critical acclaim like Lahore, which won him the 2010 National Film award for Best Supporting Actor.
A very versatile actor, Farooq performed was equally comfortable with theatre and television as he was with cinema. His famous play with Shabana Azmi “Tumhari Amrita” ran into many years of success.
Here are some of my personal favourites –
While his on screen chemistry with Deepti Naval set the screen on fire, Farooq was a romantic in his real life too. He courted his wife for nine years before getting married. He is survived by his wife and three daughters.
Life throws the unexpected when we are least aware of it. Who knew that a family vacation to Dubai would take him away from us forever. Simple, sensible, humble, jovial, warm are some of the words I have for him for I have been a big fan of his movies since God knows when.
Indian cinema will always remember this boy from Baroda, who gave us the simple guy next door of the 80s.
Rest in peace Farooq. May your humble soul remain in happiness wherever you are.
Here are some lines from one of his movies (Bazaar)…
Karoge yaad to har baat yaad ayegi
Guzarte waqt ki har mauj thehar jayegi
Farooq Sheikh (1948-2013)