Farooq Sheikh was a well known Indian actor, a popular television presenter and a philanthropist. He worked in the Hindi film industry from the year 1977 to 1989 and in television from the year 1988 and 2002. Farooq Sheikh worked largely in Parallel Cinema under several popular directors including Satyajit Ray, Ketan Mehta, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Muzaffar Ali. He also acted in television series like Tumhari Amrita in 1992 with Shabana Azmi and also performed stage shows. He also anchored the Television show Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai. He was also awarded the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for Lahore in 2010. Farooq Sheikh was married to Rupa Jain and the coupled had three daughters. He breathed his last on 27th December 2013 following a heart attack.
Farooq Sheikh was born on 25th March 1948 in Amroli town in Surat District, Gujarat to Muslim father Mustafa Shaikh, who worked as a lawyer in Mumbai and Parsi Mother Farida. Farooq Sheikh belonged to a family of Zamindars and grew up in luxurious surroundings. He was the eldest of the five siblings. He had done his schooling from Mumbai’s St. Mary's School and then studied in St. Xavier's College. Actress Shabana Azmi was his classmate in St. Xavier's College. He completed his law from Siddharth College of Law in Mumbai. Farooq Sheikh took up law initially but after an unsuccessful career in law he decided to take up acting as his career. He met his wife Rupa during his days in college; she was his junior in St Xavier's College in Mumbai. The couple had also done stage performances together and later the couple got married and was blessed with three daughters Sanaa, Shaaista and Rubina Sheikh. Farooq’s daughter Sana works for the Aseema NGO in Bandra.
Farooq Sheikh in his initial days worked as a theatre artist and had done several plays with IPTA and with popular directors like Sagar Sarhadi. During his final years in law, Farooq got the offer to act in a supporting role in MS Satyu’s movie Garam Hawa along with Balraj Sahni in 1973. He got Rs 750 for his first movie. He became popular as a quiz master on radio and his performance as an anchor in Bombay Doordarshan shows like Young World and Yuvadarshan made him a household name. He worked in several notable movies like Satyajit Ray's Shatranj Ke Khiladi in 1977, Noorie in 1979, Chashme Buddoor in 1981, Bazaar, Umrao Jaan, Rang Birangi, Saath Saath, Kissi Se Na Kehna in 1983 and Biwi Ho To Aisi in 1988. However, his movies between 1985 and 1997 were unsuccessful at the box office. Farooq Sheikh was paired opposite Shabana Azmi in several films like Kalpana Lajmi's 'Ek Pal', Sagar Sarhadi's 'Lorie', Muzaffar Ali's Anjuman in 1986 and they also acted together in the play Tumhari Amrita. Farooq Sheikh and Deepti Naval formed a successful onscreen pair and they worked together in films like Katha, Chashme Badoor, Chashme Badoor, Saath Saath, Rang Birangi, Kisise Na Kehna, Listen Amaya and Tell Me Oh Khuda.
Farooq Sheikh acted in fewer films in the 1990s and his later movies include Saas Bahu Aur Sensex in 2008 and Lahore in 2009. His last movie in a lead role was Club 60 in 2013.
Farooq Sheikh also had done several television serials during the late 90s. Some of his televisions serials include Kahkashan - Hasrat Mohani, Shrikant (1985-1986), Ji Mantriji on Star Plus and Chamatkar on Sony. His also acted in the popular Feroz Abbas Khan directed play Tumhari Amrita opposite Shabana Azmi. The audiences appreciated the play all over the world for 12 years. "Tumhari Amrita" on 26 February 2012 completed twenty year run. Farooq Sheikh also directed the adaptation of Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion ‘Azhar Ka Khwab’ in 2004 and also hosted the well known TV show Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai.
Farooq Sheikh in an interview said "I have never been commercially viable: People recognise me, smile and wave at me - but I have never received marriage proposals written in blood. In his heyday, when Rajesh Khanna drove down a street, the traffic stopped - I don't mind not receiving this kind of adulation. But I do miss not having been able to command the kind of work I wanted. I miss not being 100 per cent commercially viable."
Ill Health and Death:
Farooq Sheikh passed away on 28th December 2013 following a cardiac arrest in Dubai, where he was on vacation with his family. His funeral prayers were performed on 30 December 2013 in Mumbai at Millat Nagar Mosque. He was buried next to his mother's grave in Muslim Qabristan , Andheri West.
Words and Wishes:
“Just up to the news of Farooq Sheikh passing away ! Cannot believe that he has gone ! A wonderful colleague, a gentle presence about him, no pretence of any kind. His work and his demeanour breathed a certain honesty, hard to find in most. When after 25 years the Swedish Investigator in the Bofors matter, revealed that my name had been deviously ‘planted’ in the scandal, Farooq Sheikh was the only one that wrote a note to me with flowers, congratulating me, but also expressing shock at how the system had ostracised me and my family!! I did not know him well enough, but honesty and an absence of pretence does not need knowing. They show up and get recognised, without provocation!! Prayers and condolences”.
Shah Rukh Khan
“And all I ask is quiet sleep & a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.“ Faroukh Sahib…Allah bless your soul. U are dearly loved & missed.” “My biggest regret that I never got to spend time with you, Faroukh sahib, as I had requested. Should have done it earlier. I feel so sorry.”
“RIP Farooque Sheikh. Your subtle, nuanced and genius body of work will live on forever.”
“#RIPFarooqShaikh The last time we met, we talked politics. I wish we have talked film and acting. Its what we love most. I would have learned.”
“Alvida Farooq bhai the warmth of your smile lingers in our memory!”
“Farooq Sheikh passes away! Shocked, numbed and saddened. Was supposed to be shooting with him today. A gentleman actor is no more!”
“RIP Farooq Sheikh. Immensely talented, extremely courteous. A thorough gentleman.”
“Can’t believe Farooq sheikh has passed away!! Nicest,kindest n most gracious.”
“Shocked beyond words – Rip Farooq Sheikh – you will be missed sir”
“Deeply saddened to hear about Farooq Sheikh. Will miss his warmth, acting skills & gentlemanly demeanour.RIP sir”
“Farooq Sheikh RIP…can’t believe he’s no more….what a fantastic actor he was!”
Awards and Recognition:
Farooq Sheikh won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2010 for the movie Lahore. He was also nominated in the Star Guild Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the movie Lahore in 2011 and in the BIG Star Entertainment Awards for the Most Entertaining Actor category in 2013.
Wife: Rupa Sheikh
Daughters: Rubina Sheikh, Sanaa Sheikh and Shaista Sheikh.
(FAN OF Mr. FAROOQ SHEIKH)
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