Thursday, January 02, 2014

Farooque Shaikh: The Gentle Young Man

Over the last few years, we seem to be losing many more of our cinema's stalwarts than normal. We have lost great directors, huge stars, superb craftsmen - brilliant talents all. But then, we RIP them on Twitter and move on. Hence, I was quite surprised at the sadness I felt when I heard about Farooque Shaikh's passing. Here was an actor who acted in very few films by Hindi cinema standards. Not even sixty films in forty years. That probably gives him one of the highest memorable/forgettable ratios among actors.

I wanted to write a tribute but then decided it is far better to just compile some of the best tributes that others have paid him. And just as I had imagined, he seemed to be exactly like his on-screen persona in real life as well.

First up is a wonderful illustration as tribute by Jayanto, the cartoonist for Hindustan Times.

The Indian Express reported how he had been funding the education of a 26/11 victim's children - anonymously. He simply called up the newspaper's office after reading a story and picked up the tab, just like that.

Jai Arjun Singh wrote about his short interaction with him, about his unfailing politeness and his charming self-deprecation.

Sukanya Verma confessed to being a fan-girl for never giving a bad performance and for being sweet even in queues for popcorn!

Shubra Gupta recounted the joys of his polite SMSes and brilliant filmography, thus giving a lovely picture of his reel and real lives being very similar.

Varun Grover remembered the life lesson Farooque Shaikh gave him - mangoes are not gold coins!

Shabana Azmi - his co-star, friend and college-mate - presented a beautiful picture of their careers together right from their days in St Xavier's Mumbai till the last performance of Tumhari Amrita.

His newest co-star - the very talented Swara Bhaskar - wrote about her stories during the filming of Listen Amaya and how the charm, the wit, the talent floored her.

And probably the best tribute to the man was written ten years back. It called him the 'Invisible Man' and described his roles quite brilliantly. Thus:
Where Shaikh differed from the Oms and the Naseers was that they had the unwashed, lean and hungry look, while Shaikh, at all times, looked like he had access to a good launderette and that, no matter how grave the crisis, he wasn’t going to skip lunch. 
Just the kind of person anyone would love to have as a friend.

The epithet of the title has been taken from a tweet by Greatbong. Most apt.  

2 comments:

Kaevan said...

I too felt an indescribable sadness on his passing. We saw way too little of him.

alphakilo said...

I too, was surprised at HOW sad I felt when I heard of his passing.