The Inspiring Journey of Farooq Sheikh from Stage to Screen

Farooq Sheikh

Farooq Sheikh: The Iconic Actor Who Redefined Success in Bollywood

Farooq Sheikh was an Indian actor, philanthropist and television presenter. From 1973 to 1993, he was best known for his work in Hindi films and for his work in television between 1988 and 2002. Until his death on 28 December 2013, he returned to acting in films in 2008 and continued to do so.

His major contribution was in Parallel Cinema or the New Indian Cinema. He worked with directors like Satyajit Ray, Sai Paranjpye, Muzaffar Ali, Hrishikesh Mukherjee,Ayan Mukherjee and Ketan Mehta.

He acted in serials and shows on television and performed on stage in productions like Tumhari Amrita, alongside Shabana Azmi and presented the TV show, Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai (Season 1).  He won the 2010 National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for Lahore.

Early and Personal life

In 1948, Farooq Sheikh was born at Amroli, a village 90 km off Vadodara, Gujarat, India to Farida and Mustafa Sheikh.  His father was a lawyer who worked in Bombay and whose family came from Hansot in the Bharuch district of Gujarat. Shaikh came from a Zamindar family and he grew up in luxurious surroundings in Nagpada, Bombay.

He was the eldest of five children. He attended St. Mary’s School in Bombay. Later he graduated from St. Xavier’s College in the city before studying law at Siddharth College of Law, following his father into the profession. He did not, however, undertake a legal career, instead choosing theatre, having acted in college.

At St Xavier’s Farooq Sheikh met Roopa, his future wife. Both were active in theatre and were later married after nine years. The couple have two daughters named Sanaa and Shaista. Actor Shabana Azmi, then known mainly as the daughter of noted poet Kaifi Azmi, was Roopa’s classmate at St Xavier’s.


In his early days, he was active in theatre, doing plays with IPTA and with well-known directors like Sagar Sarhadi. While Shaikh was in his final year of law school in 1973, MS Sathyu approached him for his directorial debut Garam Hawa.

His first major film role was in the 1973 film Garam Hawa. In that Farooque had a supporting role and the leading man was Balraj Sahni. The film is credited for being a pioneer of a new wave of Hindi Art cinema.

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His salary for his debut film was only Rs. 750. He first gained recognition as a quiz master on radio. In Gaman Shaikh acted as the migrant Bombay taxi driver from Badaun in Uttar Pradesh hoping to return to meet his wife, but never saves up enough to return home.

Farooq Sheikh went on to act in several notable films such as Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khiladi, Noorie, Chashme Buddoor, Umrao Jaan, Bazaar, Saath Saath, Rang Birangi, Kissi Se Na Kehna, Ek Baar Chale Aao, Katha, Ab Ayega Mazaa, Salma, Faasle, Peechha Karo, Biwi Ho To Aisi and Maya Memsaab.

He formed a successful pair with Deepti Naval. In movie Katha, he did a slightly negative role.
He was paired opposite Shabana Azmi in Lorie, Ek Pal and Anjuman and then in the play Tumhari Amrita.

His chemistry with Deepti Naval led to them being cast opposite each other in nine films, namely Chashme Buddoor, Katha, Saath Saath, Kissi Se Na Kehna, Rang Birangi, Ek Baar Chale Aao, Tell Me Oh Khuda, Faasle and Listen… Amaya. They also appeared as the lead pair in an episode on Hasrat Mohani in the TV serial Kahkashan.

Ranveer Allahbadia

As od Farooq Sheikh, he had never been commercially viable. People recognise him, smile and wave at him — but he had never received marriage proposals written in blood.

In the 1990s, Farooq Sheikh acted in fewer films. But resurfaced in notable roles in the 2000s. In 2008, he appeared in Saas Bahu Aur Sensex and Lahore in 2009, for which he won the 2010 National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Farooq Sheikh appeared as Bunny’s father in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani in 2013. His last film as the leading man was Club 60 in 2013. That was also his last release before his death. He also appeared in Youngistaan and Children of War, both of which released in 2014, after his demise.

Sudha Chandran

In the 80s-90s, Farooq Sheikh appeared in several television serials. He played the title role in an episode dedicated to the poet and freedom fighter Hasrat Mohani in the TV series Kahkashan with Deepti Naval playing his wife.

Farooq Sheikh also worked in the famous TV serial Shrikant which aired on Doordarshan from 1987 to 1991. Shaikh also had a cameo in Life OK’s Do Dil Ek Jaan, where he was seen as the leading lady’s father in the initial episodes.

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He directed Aazar Ka Khwab, an adaptation of Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion in 2004.
He hosted the TV show Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai, in which he interviewed celebrities from the Hindi film world. His sense of humour and direct humble approach was the USP of the show.

Lesser known is his contribution to the UNICEF polio eradication programme. He made several extensive trips to two polio-endemic states, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and worked closely with its programme teams.  They were working with communities to get greater acceptance for the polio vaccine. He also kept on helping 26/11 affected families in Mumbai.


In the early hours of 28 December 2013, Farooq Sheikh died of a heart attack in Dubai. There he was on holiday with his family. His funeral prayers, held in Mumbai at Millat Nagar Andheri Mosque on 30 December 2013.

It was attended by many personalities, including Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi. He was buried in Muslim Qabristan, Four Bungalows, Andheri West. His grave is near that of his mother.

Short Biography of Farooq Sheikh

Personal Information
Full Name:Farooq Sheikh
Date of Birth:March 25, 1948
Place of Birth:Amroli, Gujarat, India
Date of Death:December 27, 2013
Place of Death:Dubai, UAE
Occupation:Actor, Television Presenter, Theatre Artist
Spouse:Rupa Jain (m. 1989–2013)
Children:Two daughters
University:St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai
Degree:Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Law
Post-Graduation:Master of Arts (M.A.) in Law
Career Highlights
Early Career:Started acting in theatre productions during college
Debut Film:“Garam Hawa” (1973), directed by M.S. Sathyu
Notable Films:“Chashme Buddoor” (1981), “Umrao Jaan” (1981), “Bazaar” (1982)
Television:Hosted and acted in various TV shows, including “Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai”
Theatre:Acted in numerous stage plays, known for his association with IPTA
Awards and Recognition
National Film Awards:Won Best Supporting Actor for “Lahore” (2010)
Filmfare Awards:Nominated multiple times for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor
Other Honors:Received various awards for his contributions to Indian cinema and theater
Impact:Remembered for his natural acting style and versatility
Influence:Inspired generations of actors with his work in cinema and theater
Tributes:Fondly commemorated by the Indian film industry and fans alike

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