Farooque Shaikh was one of the finest actors India has ever produced. He was someone who could effortlessly bring out variations in every film. Setting out to become a lawyer like his father, Shaikh realised early on that his passion lay somewhere else.
Despite his popularity and talent, Shaikh was selective about the films he worked on. After working in theatre, Shaikh got his first break in MS Sathyu’s landmark film Garm Hava (1973).
On his 70th birth anniversary (March 25), here are a few Farooque Shaikh films that never went out of India’s collective memory.
Garm Hava (1973)
Director MS Sathyu decided to cast Farooque as Sikander in his landmark film about post-Partition India after he saw his acting in India People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) plays. Garm Hava, a film about the struggles of a Muslim family that chooses to stay back in India after Partition, continues to be applauded for the acting prowess of the young debutant Shaikh, who proved to be an even match for veteran Balraj Sahni.
Chashme Baddoor (1981)
Chashme Baddoor is one of the buddy films of Bollywood that has remained contemporary. Farooque Sheikh paired up with Deepti Naval in the movie and gave Indian cinemas one of the most charming and cute romantic onscreen couples. Siddharth played by Sheikh and Neha played by Deepti are a perfect example of opposites attract, but they have to deal with Siddharth’s meddlesome friends before they can reach their happy ending.
Katha is a 1983 film directed by Sai Paranjpaye which featured Naseeruddin Shah, Farooq Shaikh and Deepti Naval. The film is about the daily lives of people living in a Mumbai chawl. Rajaram P. Joshi played by Shah is a middle-class Clerk living in a chawl in Bombay. He is secretly in love with his neighbor, Sandhya Karnik played by Naval but is unable to disclose his love for her. Rajaram’s fast-tallking friend, Bashudev played by Farooq comes for a visit and makes himself at home. Bashudev starts wooing Sandhya and soon both in love with each other. But on the day of the engagement, Bashudev disappears, and the engagement is called-off. Rajaram offers to marry the devastated Sandhya, but she tells him that she has been very intimate with Bashudev, and is pregnant, and it remains to be seen if Rajaram will accept Sandhya or otherwise.
Bazaar is a 1982 Indian drama film directed by Sagar Sarhadi. The film brought together actors like Shaikh, Naseeruddin Shah, Supriya Pathak and Smita Patil. The film highlights the issue of bride buying in India, through the tragedy of young Muslim girls who were sold off by poverty-stricken parents to affluent Indians in the Gulf. Farooq Shaikh was a supporting actor but he made the film his own because of his powerful performance.
Shanghai is a 2012 Indian political thriller film produced by Dibakar Banerjee starring Abhay Deol, Emraan Hashmi and Farooque Shaikh. Shaikh played a senior bureaucrat who is Abhay Deol’s boss. Shaikh’s character Kaul was a man who would smoothly and subtly turn the tables on his opponent. Shaikh absolutely charmed the audience with his role, albeit negative.