Farooq Shaikh – A Real Super Star of Realistic Cinema

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Farooq Sheikh- file photo

MUMBAI: The moment you hear the word Superstar, your imagination runs to think of a face– a Superhero– whose name itself speaks for him, whose word is considered like a sliver line and the one whose film blows out the box-office with mind-blowing figures. At least, the Bollywood has seen their superstar only with this mindset. The era of 70’s and 80’s has been this way. This era saw an outburst of realistic cinemas staring people like Naserruddin Shah, Om Puri, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Amresh Puri and so on.  These heroes were no doubt Superheroes, but people also wanted someone who looked and lived as common as them.

Farooq Shaikh was one such man who struck the common cords with people by appearing in various parallel cinemas. He started his journey with the film ‘Garam Hawa’ in which he played a role of a Muslim character that after partition decides to stay back in India and starts living a new life. He played such a strong role that director Satyajit Roy signed him up for his film ‘Shatranj’. And shortly thereafter, Farooq became the hero of the new generation.

Being a superstar, Farooq could have easily done lot of commercial films and keep shinning in the box office like other superstars of his time. However, unlike other stars, Farooq decided to work on selected films which had good subject rather than just giving a commercial hit. For instances, subjective films like Garam Hawa, Shatranj Ke Khilari, Noorie, Umrao Jaan, Chashme Buddoor, Saath Saath, Bazaar, Lakhon Ki Baat, Maya Memsaab.

Farooq had a distinguished personality of his own. There was a respect and humility in his language when he spoke. People therefore, not only liked his performance, but the way he delivers his dialogues was also appreciated by the audience. Soon, along with films, Farooq also started doing Urdu drama and TV shows. The one such famous small screen show was Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai which people enjoy watching even today.

Farooq stayed away from the film world for quite some time, but on public demand he came back in to the latest hit “Yeah Jawani Hai Deewani”. The film did a wonderful business at the box office.  Recently, he starred in one more film that is still running in the theatres – Club 60. Who knew that this would be his last film and suddenly he would leave us all silently.

Today, Farooq Shaikh is no more with us, but his wonderful soul still stays with us, right in our hearts. No doubt, whenever the coming generation sees you on TV screens, films, stage shows and dramas… “tum chale jaaoge to sochenge….hum ne kya khoya humne  kya paya”.

By- Junaid Imam

(the writer is a Mumbai based film director)

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