Farooq Sheikh – A Man For All Seasons
“More is a man of an angel’s wit and singular learning. I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness and affability? And, as time requireth, a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes, and sometime of as sad gravity. A man for all seasons.”
Though the above lines were written by Robert Whittington in 1520, for Sir Thomas More, the 16th century Chancellor of England, don’t the lines aptly describe this gentle actor Farooq Sheikh? If we go through his filmography, he’s touched all kinds of roles except that of an action hero which probably was not his genre at all. He worked with directors like M S Sathyu, Satyajit Ray, Muzaffar Ali, Sai Paranjape, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Yash Chopra, Ketan Mehta, Ayan Mukherjee. This gamut of directors itself is enough to assess the actor’s calibre. From commercial cinema to art to middle stream, he trod on all the paths with ease and comfort. Not only that, he carried out all these characters with same ease, poise and elegance as he carried his crisp white kurtas in real life. No one could carry them the way he did!! A complete natural actor, who stood apart from his contemporaries, while he never was into the rat race. The camera of course loved him and so did the audience.
Farooq Shaikh was born on 25th March 1948 at Amroli, a village in Vadodara, Gujarat, to father Mustafa Shaikh and mother Farida. His father Mustafa Shaikh was a lawyer settled in Mumbai. His family were the landowners and he grew up in luxurious surroundings. He was the eldest of five children and grew up in Mumbai, where his father had settled down to practise law. Farooq Sheikh himself was a lawyer but he never practised. He was into the theatres from his early days and continued to do so even after doing films. Tumhari Amrita (1992) by Feroz Abbas Khan is one of the best examples of his theatrical performances. Apart from that he also did television with serials like Shrikant and Kahkashan in the 80s and anchoring TV programs like Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai. He was also a philanthropist, contributing hugely to the society. Loved and respected by all, this witty actor was also earnest and spontaneous.
A quick look at some of his songs –