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Veteran actor Farooq Sheikh passes away

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 28.12.13

Dubai, Dec 28 (PTI) : Farooq Sheikh, known for his memorable performances in films such as ‘Garm Hava', 'Shatranj Ke Khiladi', 'Chashme Buddoor', 'Umrao Jaan' and 'Bazaar', died after suffering a heart attack here.

“He has passed away,” a family member told PTI.

The 65-year-old Bollywood actor suffered a fatal heart attack late Friday night. He was apparently here with his family for a concert.

His body will be brought to Mumbai later in the day after completing the formalities in Dubai.

Sheikh was born in Amroli in Gujarat's Baroda district. He was active in theatre before making his debut in Bollywood with M S Sathyu's 1973 Partition drama 'Garm Hawa' where he played the youngest son of Balraj Sahni. The movie is considered to be a pioneer of a new wave of Hindi art cinema.

There was no looking back for Sheikh after that as he created a space for himself in active parallel cinema world of that time with his nuanced performances and went on to work with filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, Muzaffar Ali and Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

With his boy-next-door persona and understated style, Farooq Sheikh made his entry into films at a time when parallel art cinema was making its presence felt.

The actor along with Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Om Puri, Naseeruddin and Deepti Naval was instrumental in keeping the parallel cinema movement alive in the 1970s and 1980s.

Among his most notable films were 'Shatranj Ke Khiladi', 'Noorie', 'Chashme Buddoor', 'Kissi Se Na Kehna', 'Katha', 'Faasle' and 'Bazaar'.

He formed a successful pair with Deepti Naval working with her in 'Chashme Baddoor', 'Kissi Se Na Kehna', 'Katha' and most recently in 'Listen Amaya'.

Later on he acted in fewer films like 'Saas Bahu Aur Sensex', 'Tell Me O Khuda' and 'Lahore' for which he won the 2010 National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a boxing coach.

Sheikh was equally active in the world of theatre and TV. His most famous stage play was 'Tumhari Amrita' with Shabana Azmi, which completed 20 years in 2012.

The play, an unrequited love story read out through reams of letters, received great success. The play was a major hit in Dubai last year.

He also acted in a number of television serials such as 'Shrikant', 'Chamatkar', 'Ji Mantriji' besides hosting popular chat show 'Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai' in which he interviewed many Bollywood celebrities.

He was married to Rupa Jain and has two daughters, Shaista and Sanaa.

In his last interview to PTI, the actor had talked about the short life of films today and felt that the films have advanced technically, but their life span is shrinking and the writing department is not getting more attention.

As someone who trained as a lawyer, Sheikh came to acting after failing to relate to his profession in law. Theatre was something that he was already doing in college.

Sheikh was born into a zamindar family near Baroda in 1948. He was the eldest son of his lawyer father Mustafa Shaikh. The family moved to the then Bombay as his father had a successful practice, which in part, prompted Sheikh to take up law initially.

He met his wife Rupa during his college. They were very active in theatre during their college days.

This year he had three film releases 'Listen Amaya', 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' and 'Club 60'. He will be seen next in Jacky Bhagnani starrer 'Youngistan'.