The passing of veteran actor Surekha Sikri from cardiac arrest at 75 today saw an outpouring of grief from Bollywood celebs and fans. The Bollywood veteran had developed complications after a second brain stroke. Tributes poured in for the late actor as Bollywood remembered her power-packed performances that earned her three National Awards.
Gajraj Rao, who played Surekha’s son in the 2018 film Badhai Ho, posted a heartfelt message for her co-star on Instagram, Rao wrote the legendary actress had no airs despite her experience and stature, and hailed her who defined her craft with years of homework and ‘riyaaz’, combined with child-like enthusiasm. Neena Gupta, his other co-star in the film, shared an Instagram video where she recalled how Surekha’s work inspired her as an aspiring actress. She added that she idolised her future co-star and wanted to perform like her.
A stalwart of theatre, Surekha left an indelible mark on several big-name Bollywood stars. Manoj Bajpayee called her one of the greatest talents, who was a treat on stage, adding that he would never forget those memories of her acting in theatre. Gulshan Grover also recalled his time working with and learning from Surekha during his days in theatre, and lauded her for her superb performances. Ashish Vidyarthi also shared memories from Surekha’s association with the National School of Drama Repertory Company when she used to rule the stage. Vidyarthi wrote she was unique in her work and had fond memories of listening to her speaking at Mandi House.
Surekha’s former co-star Karisma Kapoor shared a picture with the veteran actor and Amrish Puri, another legend of Indian films. She wrote it was wonderful to have Surekha play her mother in Zubeidaa and said it was an honour for her to have got the chance to work with her. Dia Mirza called Surekha an extraordinary woman and an inspiration for generations and said she was lucky to have witnessed her magic in person. Actor-director Pooja Bhatt called the actor a “force of nature”.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal paid tribute to the late actor on Twitter, while Anupam Kher also mourned the loss of his National School of Drama senior.
Surekha made her big-screen debut with Kissa Kursi Ka in 1978. She won acclaim for her parts in Govind Nihalani’s Tamas, Shyam Benegal’s Sardari Begum and Mammo. She was a prominent face on television in the 1990s and featured in Just Mohabbat and Banegi Apni Baat. She rediscovered her fame following her stint on the television smash hit Balika Vadhu.