“Farooque Shaikh was not just a fine actor but a gem of a human being”


Remembering Farooque Shaikh on his 70th Birthday…..

Sai Paranjpye:  “I was very fortunate to have worked in two films Chashme Buddoor and Katha with Farooque. And I cannot tell you how wonderful he was  to work with.During Katha the banter and the playful one-upmanship between  Farooq and Naseeruddin Shah the teasing and ribbing between these two stalwarts was so precious. Farouq would say, ‘If Naseer and I are in a shot then it would be Naseer’s back to the camera.’ To this Naseer would retort, ‘Yes, of course, because my back is more expressive than your face.’ And they would go on like this. It was such a  pleasure to see them together.Farooque was very religious. Every Friday we’d have to relieve him of his work so he could go and pray. But Naseer was not at all  religious.Yet he took his mother on a Haj pilgrimage. Farooque would tease Naseer about this.During the shooting of Chashme Buddoor in Delhi one of our light boys fell from the roof. He had to be hospitalized. Farooq would quietly visit the injured lightman pay for his treatment.He said nothing about his generosity to any of us. He was silent doer.Farooque was an angel. He was God’s child.One always says nice things about the departed. But honestly, even if  Farooque were alive I wouldn’t have a single bad thing to say about him. I’d call him a big flirt. I’d say, ‘Farooque, kuch toh sharam kijiye.You are flirting with me and you’re flirting with my daughter, just because your mother is not here to see what you are up to.’  He was so sweet, so wonderful.”

Dibakar Bannerjee: “We worked together in Shanghai. I wish we could’ve worked together again. He was a deeply committed actor and human being. He belonged to a rare vanishing breed of artists who put his ego behind the larger good. Farooque Saab and I shared a common love for fine food.We were supposed  to get together for a big meal. I’ll regret not doing so all my life. Conversing with him was like a peep into history, sociology and the very soul of mankind. He was a kindered spirit.”

Deepa Sahi: “We worked together in one of our most challenging films Maya Memsaab.He was a very very instinctive actor, and great fun to be with.What a sense of humour Farooque had! Providentially, his jokes never hurt anyone. In fact they made even the targets of his humour laugh at themselves. He made the people around him at work and in his personal space very comfortable.  Within five minutes of meeting him for the first time I felt I knew him forever. That ability to make you comfortable so quickly was rare.  May his soul rest in peace.”

Swara Bhaskara: “I worked with  him in Listen…Amaya .The demise of the gracious, charming, iconic and much-loved actor is  the saddest news this year. He was a gentleman and a gem of a person. Farooque Sheikh  was an actor par excellence and a lesson  to watch.He embodied all the stellar qualities of a generation of stars gone by. I discovered happily that this self-effacing and dignified legend of his time was also a gifted storyteller.And so shooting with was a treat comprising anecdotes, food, wit, warmth and scintillating conversation. I recall the respect and dignity with which he treated every fan and well-wisher. Just watching Farooque Sir play out a scene was  a ‘class’ act. It was like being educated in effortless acting . Farooque Sir could turn the dullest moment bright with a witty line. I  now recall every single moment that I was privileged to spend with this legend. Too soon, Farooque Sir. You owed me a dinner. We will miss you and feel your loss always.”

Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan: “I had the privilege of working with  Farooque Saab in  my first film Lahore.It is a grave loss for cinema and humanity. He was not just a fine actor but a gem of a human being. He was a pureheart who gave unconditionally. In his moral uprightness and sincerity he seemed invincible. He was not like other camera-greedy actors. He shared screen space as generously as the biryani that he liked to tuck into. It was always humbling to be in the presence of a  man so talented yet so grounded to reality.I can’t think of a single actor who can hold a candle to him. May his soul rest in peace.”

Abhimanyu Singh: “I was fortunate to have worked with Farooque Saab in  Accident On Hill Road. The best thing that happened in this film was my interaction with FarooqueSaab. He was a genuinely warm human being, always helpful to his co-stars and there was no fussiness in his attitude. He was straightforward and upfront… a rarity, soft spoken and refined.”

Jackky Bhagnani: “Farooque Saab shot with us in Indore for Youngistan.We are still in Indore.We can’t believe he is gone.He taught me a lot. He was like a father-figure. I am still in shock.We shot  together for days.Now he is no more.In the film he plays my father-figure after my character loses his father. Ironically we’ve lost him in real life.”

Kalpana Lajmi: “.Farooque was one  my closest friends, an absolute sweetheart and an angel  of a man. He wanted me to see his new film Club 60 .And now he’s gone. It’s hard to believe  a man so good can go so early.He starred in my first film Ek Pal. ShabanaNaseer ,FarooqueBhupenda , Gulzar Saab…we were all part of one team. Contrary to his goodygoody image he played quite a rogue in Ek Pal who dumps his girl after impregnating her.Farooque was hugely supportive during my first film. He didn’t charge money and told me  he would take money only after release.I’ve seldom come across anyone  as well-read and erudite as Farooque. He was a political liberal and an absolutely simple unostentatious man. He never owned a car   and lived in a rented home all his life.He never drank or smoked and yet he died of a heart attack! I guess it could be genetic. I remember Farooque telling me his father had died suddenly of a heart attack at the Mumbai airport.”

Neetu Singh seems to have taken to Alia Bhatt in a big way, good signs for Ranbir!

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