National Award-winning actor Surekha Sikri has died at the age of 75 following a cardiac arrest. Known for her roles in TV shows Balika Vadhu and Saat Phere, her glorious career spanned films and theatre as well. She won her third National Award for the 2018 movie Badhaai Ho, co-starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Gajaraj Rao and Neena Gupta.
Subhash K Jha spoke to Neena Gupta and Gajaraj Rao, who reminisce fondly about the late veteran actress.
“She was my senior at the National School Drama. We all used to look up to her. She would work in the repertory company of the NSD and her work was always outstanding. I used to watch her closely. Even during the shooting of Badhaai Ho I would still observe her acting. There was so much to learn from her. She was a great actor and remained one till her end," Neena Gupta says.
Neena lights up remembering her shooting schedule with Surekha Sikri. “We had a ball shooting with her. She was so much fun to be with, so full of life. She used to bring her newspaper to the set every morning, and would read it until she was called for a shot. She could talk on any subject under the sun. She was an amazing woman. I am going to miss her.”
Gajaraj Rao says, “Yes, sadly, we’ve lost one of our best actors. She was so well-read and such a sensitive artiste. My experience working with her during Badhaai Ho was a very happy one. She was not much of a talker. She didn’t waste her time in idle chatter. But during rehearsals before she faced the camera she inspired all of us with her passion and dedication. Ghazab ke unka dedication thha.”
Gajaraj elaborates on the actress’ fierce commitment to getting it right. “She had lengthy two-three page dialogues in Badhaai Ho. She was always prepared. She always remembered every dialogue because she did her homework before coming on the set. Our director Amit Sharma filmed eight-nine takes. She never hesitated in doing any number of takes happily. It was very inspiring working with her. I am going to miss her.”
Surekha Sikri was last seen in Zoya Akhtar's segment of Ghost Stories that premiered on Netflix.
Image source: Instagram/Shashankvyas/ SpotboyE archive