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Farooq Shaikh: Face of the urban middle class
March 26, 2012 06:21:57 PM IST Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
For a man who celebrated his 64th birthday yesterday, Farooq Shaikh indeed is the 'common man' of the Indian cinema, as it continues to be epitomized by the legendary cartoon of R.K. Laxman. From the time when he made his debut in Hindi cinema with CHASHME BUDDOOR, his is the face that endears the audience and establishes instant chemistry. The helplessness of the common man before the conundrum of rules and regulations was perfectly etched out through the portrayals of characters that Farooq Shaikh enacted in his acting career.
He tried to change his image by playing a rogue character in KATHA, but the public was not convinced and so had to go back to start enacting the role of the common man.
He was an actor who did not have a gumption about playing the role of the common man to perfection and incidentally when he stopped acting, may be owing to the repetitiveness of the roles, the conviction of enacting the role of a common man by other actors did not have the same meat as Farooq Shaikh used to bring it through his performance.
One just needs to bring into relief the role of a rickshaw puller that he enacted in BAZAAR and the element of pathos that he brought to his performance, to understand how deeply engrained he was into the skin of the character.
Incidentally, there was no other actor in the recent times who played the role of a rickshaw puller after Farooq Shaikh enacted the role.
Along with Deepti Naval he had one of the most enduring pairs on the silver screen in the eighties and both of them represented a generational aspiration of the times in which they were growing and SAATH SAATH was the acme of such angst in terms of performance. But Farooq Shaikh really came into being with his debut on the television and his talk show JEENA ISI KA NAAM HAI was one of the most successful programs that Zee Television had shown on its channel.
It was in JEENA ISI KA NAAM HAI only that Farooq Shaikh was able to cajole Sanjay Dutt to come out with the truth about his harrowed past. Parallel with his debut on television he also warmed up to the stage and found his moorings there as well with TUMHAARI AMRITA with Shabana Azmi to create one of the longest enacted plays in the Indian dramatic history.
He was an actor who never went overboard with his performance and endeared generations. As a helpless husband as well (one of the most common tribe in India) he excelled, starting from BIWI HO TO AISI to MAYA MEMSAAB. As a fitting tribute to his acting genius he was conferred with the national award for best supporting actor in 2011 for his role in LAHORE, the first real sports film from the Indian film making fraternity.
Actors of the likes of Farooq Shaikh seldom walk on earth as they are without pretensions and any hangovers, and for Hindi cinema more of his ilk is the desire. May be this could be his birthday wish as well, and if it is, Amen to that.