Brilliant, unabashed and poignant veteran actress Surekha Sikri breathed her last on July 16. The National Award-winning star delivered some fine performances in a career that spanned over four decades. Not just in television, the screen legend was a par excellent performer in theatre and films. It was in 2008 when Sikri added a major milestone to her acting journey. The audiences loved her as Kalyani Devi, the stern matriarch in the popular television show, Balika Vadhu. As the National School Drama alum bids adieu to the world, we honour her legacy by remembering some of her performances that will remain deeply etched in our memories for years:
1. Mammo (1994)
Film genius Shyam Benegal was on directing duties for the first part of the Muslim trilogy. Surekha Sikri played the role of Fayyuzi, the grandmother of the protagonist, played by Amit Phalke. She meets her long lost sister, Mammo (Farida Jalal) in an unexpected encounter. Sikri brought the perfect balance of emotions and resilience to her character. For her impactful performance, she was honoured with a National Film Award.
2. Zubeidaa (2001)
Sikri reprised her role as Fayyuzi in the final part of Benegal’s trilogy. Her assured performance testified to the fact that she was finely seasoned with acting skills. And as always, she succeeded to make a place in the hearts of the audience. With stupendous deliverances from the likes of Karisma Kapoor, Rekha, Manoj Bajpayee, Rajit Kapoor, Lillete Dubey and Amrish Puri, the film garnered a National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.
3. Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro (1989)
The size of the role or the screen duration never mattered when it came to Sikri. She had the ability to make an impact even if she was given one scene in the entire film. This Saeed Akhtar Mirza directorial explored the influence of Hindutva extremism on minor communities. Sikri as Amina was unbelievable even when she had to look way older for the character. The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and National Film Award for Best Cinematography.
4. Tamas (1988)
Based on Bhisham Sahni’s Hindi novel, the period television film was directed by Govind Nihalani. It revolved around the heart-wrenching circumstances of millions during the 1947 partition. Sikri featured as Rajo and managed to hold her performance with her effortless acting. This film won Sikri her first National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress.
5. Badhaai Ho (2018)
The Ayushmann Khurrana starrer was ground-breaking for its bold storyline. The film saw Sikri play the actor’s on-screen grandmother. Like always, the veteran star wowed her fans with her sheer brilliance. Peppered with solid performances from Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao, and Sanya Malhotra, the comedy-drama was praised by moviegoers and critics alike. Sikri won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. She arrived in a wheelchair to the ceremony to collect her award amidst loud cheers and a standing ovation.