Birthday Special: Why Surekha Sikri is an actor for all the ages!

Updated: Apr 19, 2020, 08:18 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Surekha Sikri is a dazzling and delightful actress and someone who has always shone in whatever she has done. With the success of Badhaai Ho, it would be great to see her more often on the big screen!

Surekha Sikri Picture Courtesy: Mid-day Archives
Surekha Sikri Picture Courtesy: Mid-day Archives

In one of his statements in 2014, filmmaker Shyam Benegal said he wants to strangle the person who has coined the world parallel for cinema. And rightly so! This is a film industry and not a math class. Today, the lines between commercial and the so-called art-house cinema have blurred. Wish it never existed in the first place. And if it didn't, Surekha Sikri would have been written a lot more about.

Today, social media has helped people a lot to know more about this galvanising and gifted actor. With 2018's Badhaai Ho, where she played a cantankerous yet charming grandmother, she nearly stole the show from the other principal characters. It wasn't her reinvention, she was always a dynamic performer, it was the reinvention of the storytelling in Hindi Cinema. It was a bold move if not exactly a giant leap.

Last year, she was awarded her third National Award for her performance and was lauded for what she managed to do on the celluloid despite having suffered a brain stroke a few years ago that stopped her from working in films for a while. She has often said how she has been passionate about acting and films. Talking about the roles of female characters in films, she once said, "There should be more roles for other female characters. People of my age were earlier pieces of furniture in a film. But now things are different."

In Tamas and Mammo, which fetched the actress her maiden and second National Award, she proved to be a dependable actor if offered the opportunity to play a daring role. Both the films weren't an easy watch, but an important one, dealing with subjects and issues that are often regarded as too risky and non-commercial. But a good actor is oblivious to box-office and prospects, all it needs is a role she or he can sink their teeth into, and she did. And she has been doing that in her entire four-decade career.

In films like Sarfarosh and Zubeidaa, she made the pain of a mother real to the core. Even in lesser successful and resonating films like Tumsa Nahin Dekha and Jo Bole So Nihaal, she displayed her comical and boisterous side with great aplomb. And with the anthology, Ghost Stories, she proved her face can be judiciously used not only to make us cry, connect, or cheer, but also to send a chill down our spine. That's not all, in the immensely popular TV show, Balika Vadhu, her role of Dadisa forced the viewers not to miss any episode and see what happens next in the story. It still remains one of the most talked-about characters of Indian Television.

In the last two years, Sikri has proved she's an actor for all the ages, and her age is nothing but a number! Is there any other actor who's as versatile? Who cares about box-office then? And why shouldn't we then see more of her? And what's there for the filmmakers not to cast her in as meaty roles as they can?

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