Farooq Sheikh, a born actor was a veteran of Indian cinema and has been instrumental in moulding Hindi cinema in a manner that is somewhat diversified from the prevalent ‘theme’ of that time. A natural persona with a unique charm that translated on his on screen performances, Sheikh’s foray into the world of experimental cinema at a time when commercialism was on its way to the peak, speaks volumes about his identity as a true artiste.
As simple in his portrayal as sophisticated he was as an actor, Farooq Sheikh was indeed a true, multifaceted personality. A popular television presenter as well as a philanthropist, Sheikh embarked into the world of histrionics through theater. A family legacy of lawyers also compelled Sheikh to explore the world of law, which he had to give up on eventually as he discovered his true calling.
FAROOQ SHEIKH DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH
Born on 25th March, 1948 at Amroli in a village in Vadodara, Gujarat to Mustafa Shaikh and Farida, Sheikh was the eldest of five children and grew up in luxurious surroundings in Nagpada, Mumbai.
FAROOQ SHEIKH BIOGRAPHY
After attending St. Mary’s School in Mumbai and graduating from St. Xavier’s College, Sheikh took up law at Siddharth College of Law in the city. His personal and professional life had always been inter mixed.
While at Xavier’s, Sheikh met his future wife Rupa, who was his school junior. Rupa’s classmate was Shabana Azmi, and this connection proved vital for Sheikh to develop his professional network.
Initially starting out with theatrics by doing plays with the prestigious Indian People’s Theater Association, which heralded Farooq Sheikh’s venture into Bollywood, Farooq starred in his first major film Garam Hawa(1973) while in his final year of law school. Albeit a supporting actor, Farooq rose to limelight with his portrayal of the rebellious Sikandar in this ‘new age film’ which went on to achieve somewhat of a cult status.
His debut as a leading man was not until 1979 when the film Noorie was finally released. In between, he had a stint as a radio quiz master before beginning to anchor for Bombay Doordarshan. Simultaneously, he continued to dazzle in numerous films, exploring genres and establishing himself as an actor par excellence in the cinematic world.
Among Sheikh’s most notable film’s are Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khiladi (Chess Players) (1977), Chashme Buddoor (1981), Umrao Jaan( 1981), Bazaar (1982), Saath Saath(1982), Rang Birangi,(1983), Kissi Se Na Kehna (1983), Ek Baar Chale Aao (1983), Katha (1983), Ab Ayega Mazaa (1984), Salma (1985), Peechha Karo (1986), Biwi Ho To Aisi (1988) and Maya Memsaab (1993) .He also did a slightly negative role in Katha.
Telly show Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai was somewhat of a pathbreaking chart show, wherein Farooq Sheikh tried to rope in Bollywood actors for an honest, heart out chat show through the host’s characteristic humor and simplistic approach.
Sheikh played the role of Ranbir Kapoor’s father in his swansong performance in the 2013 film Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.
Sheikh’s multi facetedness however stems not only from his exploring of different realms as an actor, but also from his deep reverence with other art forms as is evident in his fascination with Urdu poetry.
Farooq Sheikh was also closely connected to the UNICEF polio eradication programme and was instrumental in creating greater acceptance of the polio vaccine in two polio endemic states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
FAROOQ SHEIKH AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
For a man who was veritable in his every venture and who introduced a certain freshness in the world of cineman to enhance its mass appeal, Farooq Sheikh was a relatively lesser known star. However, his natural talent and unambiguous acting won him accolades both in the film and television arena.
- 2009 National Award for Best Supporting Actor (Lahore)
- 2003 Indian Telly Award for Best Anchor (Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai)
- 2001 ITA Award for Best Actor- Comedy (Ji Mantriji)
28 December, 2013 saw the end of an era of realistic acting when this doyen of Indian cinema passed away from a heart attack. Leaving behind his wife and their two daughters, Shaaista and Sanaa, the quintessential gentleman breathed his last while on holiday in Dubai with family. The handsome man with a boyish charm and an endearing smile, all while balancing with a perfectly intense expression every time his character demanded, Farooq Sheikh will forever be remembered for his versatility as an actor and mostly for his simplistic version of the person that each one of us should really be!