Three-time National Award-winner actress Surekha Sikri-Rege, who excelled equally on stage, films, television and web series, passed away following a cardiac arrest early on Friday, an aide said.
She was 76 and breathed her last surrounded by her family members and caregivers. The family requested for privacy in their hour of grief.
A former sister-in-law of veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah, Sikri had lost her husband Hemant Rege around 12 years ago and is survived by their son Rahul Sikri.
Sikri had been ailing for the past few years after having suffered a paralytic stroke in 2018, followed by a brain haemorrhage in 2020.
Born in Delhi, she spent time at the famed Aligarh Muslim University and then joined the National School of Drama, graduating from there in 1971.
Starting her acting career of more than four decades, she first worked on stage for over a decade, and then debuted in Hindi films with the acclaimed political drama “Kissa Kursi Ka” (1978) which was banned briefly.
Later, she played supporting roles in several Hindi movies like “Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro”, “Tamas”, “Mammo”, “Sardari Begum”, “Sarfarosh”, “Zubeidaa”, “Jo Bole So Nihaal”, “Badhai Ho”, and her last film “Ghost Stories”.
Simultaneously, she acted in several TV serials including “Just Mohabbat”, “Mano Ya Na Mano”, “CID”, “Kesar”, “Maha Kumbh: Ek Rahasya, Ek Kahani”, and the hugely popular “Balika Badhu” which catapulted her into the hearths and hearts of the masses.
Over the years, she bagged the National Award for “Tamas” (1988), “Mammo” (1995) and “Badhai Ho” (2018), and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1989) for her services to Hindi theatre, besides a string of other honours, awards and accolades.
Top Bollywood, theatre and television personalities mourned the loss of Sikri, and social media was flooded with fans’ memories and messages on her performances over the decades.