From Sushant Singh Rajput and Rishi Kapoor to Dilip Kumar and Irrfan – the Indian television and film industry has lost some of its most iconic and talented personalities. The jinx continues now as veteran actor Surekha Sikri passed away today at the age of 75.
The award-winning actress is said to have been suffering from illness for a long time now. She had suffered two brain strokes in 2018 and 2020. Sikri had been ailing from some serious complications of the second stroke that she survived in 2020 and was amidst her loved ones and caregivers. She died of a cardiac arrest in the wee hours of Friday morning.
This brilliant actor’s career has spanned over almost 40 long years, with her debut being in the 1978 political drama film Kissa Kursi Ka. She has worked in theatre, films, as well as television and, has done several author-backed roles in each of these industries.
She is a recipient of the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress thrice for her roles in Tamas (1988), Mammo (1995), and her most recent film, Badhaai Ho (2018). The cine stalwart has much to her artistic credit; she graduated from the National School of Drama (NSD) which has been the alma mater to actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Irrfan, Om Puri, and Ratna Pathak Shah.
Born in Uttar Pradesh, she spent most of her childhood in Almora and Nainital. She later moved to Mumbai for better prospects in her career. She is also a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1989). Sikri was married to Hemant Rege, who passed away in October 2009 due to heart failure. The couple is now survived by their son Rahul Sikri.
Apart from her roles in movies, she has an extensive repertoire of work on television. Sikri is best known for delivering the role of the stern matriarch, Dadisa or Kalyani Devi in the television blockbuster Balika Vadhu. Other serials include Godan, Sanjha Chula, Ek Tha Raja Ek Thi Rani, and Kesar. She was last seen in Netflix anthology Ghost Stories in the section directed by Zoya Akhtar.
The actor had suffered two strokes and was ailing for many months. “I had a brain stroke ten months ago and I have been recovering since then. I fell down and hit my head in the bathroom while shooting in Mahabaleshwar. I have not been able to work due to my illness. The doctors say that I will be alright soon,” Surekha had said after her stroke in 2018.
The film and television fraternity who are deeply saddened by the loss of this gem of an actor has come out in mourning. Many took to social media to express their grief and pay an ode to the stalwart. Paying his condolences, actor Manoj Bajpayee wrote, “Very Sad news !!! One of the greatest talents Surekha Sikari Ji passed away leaving behind so many great performances in theatre and cinema!! She was a treat to watch on stage. can’t forget some of those memories of her act in theatre. She great craft and is a graceful person!! RIP”
Television actress Avika Gor who debuted in Balika Vadhu shared a throwback picture from the show with a heart-touching caption. She spoke of the late actor as “a beautiful human” and how it was always a challenge to meet her energy levels. She ended the note by saying- “I have always wanted to be like her… hardworking… grounded… kind. She has truly left a legacy to follow. Dadisaa… I will always love you, my guardian angel. RIP”
Many other actors shared pictures of Sikri and shared their condolences, some of them were Randeep Hooda, Urvashi Rautela, Nimrat Kaur, Anirudh Dave, and Dia Mirza. “There is no one like her. Absolutely no one. What an extraordinary woman. An artist par excellence. Those eyes and that smile Star-struck Her craft will inspire generations of performers. Was lucky to have the chance to witness her magic in person #RIPSurekhaSikri,” wrote Dia Mirza.
It is true that she has left an indelible mark on the lives of so many avid movie-goers and daily soap fans, as well as thousands of actors from within the fraternity and aspiring actors as well. It is truly a moment of grief and a huge loss for the country, for we have lost a great talent.