TV

Annup Sonii on 6 Years Of Shooting With Surekha Sikri

The passing away  of theatre and film veteran Surekha Sikri has left  many of her colleagues  shell-shocked

, None more so than that  quietly effective  actorAnnup Sonii who played Surekha Sikri’s  son  in the long-running series Balika  Vadhu  for 6 years

Recalls  Annup ,“I played her son and she  became a mother-figure for the entire team .As I got to  know her closely—we  were working for  16-17 hours together  everyday—I became  more and  more fond  of her. Surekhaji was well-read  and articulate. She could speak several languages  fluently  including Urdu,  Hindi and English.  And she  didn’t enjoy  memorizing her dialogues  from the script in the Roman Hindi. She would write her dialogues in Devnagiri in  the  spaces  on  the  script and  then memorize  them. She said  she was  comfortable  with the words only when she  wrote them in her own  handwriting and in the original Hindi. Which is  why when she  spoke , her words didn’t sound as though they had been written  by  a  dialogue  writer. They sounded  like her own.”

There was  one  other thing  that bonded Anuup with Surekhaji.  “We were  both from  the National School Of Drama.  Of course she  was  much senior. When  I  went to the NSD  I  would hear  stories, almost like folklore, about actors  like Manohar Singh and Surekha Sikri . To actually  get  to work with her  was  a dream-come-true . I had to wait  for Balika Vadhu  for that privilege. But the wait was  worth it. Both Satyajeet Sharma  and I who played her sons  in the serial spent  hours with her. I lived  very close to Surekhaji.So after shooting we would  drive back together. I’d request  her to get  into my car and her car  would follow us.”

Anuup  was in touch with  Surekhaji during the  pandemic. “I  would speak to her  on the phone, ask her if she needed anything. I knew she  was not in need  of anything. She was financially sound. She  also had a supportive  family. But after her life partner  Hemant Rege’s death  she preferred to stay  alone with  only her faithful caregiver  who was with her right till the end.”

Anuup’s closing thought on  the  deceased  stalwart? “She was  so  focused  on her  work right  till the end. She enjoyed acting and gave her  life to it. During  the last six months her health  had begun  to fail. But she had a full life and she lived it on her own terms.Not many of us get to do that.”

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