By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: The inimitable Sai Paranjpye, who now lives a secluded life, was shocked by the death of her Chashme Buddoor actor Farooq Sheikh.
Speaking exclusively to this correspondent, Sai said, “Arrey array. Yeh kya hua? What a way to to end the year! The news of Farooq’s death in the morning was devastating. This was no time for him to go. Farooq was such a sportsman. And this was most unsportsmanlike exit. His death has taken us all by shock.It’s terrible.”
Sai recalls her association with Farooq with much pleasure. “I was very fortunate to have worked in two films Chashme Buddoor and Katha with Farooq. And I cannot tell you how wonderful he was to work with.”
Sai recalls how Naseeruddin Shah and Farooq played a mock game of one-upmanship throughout the film. “During Katha, the banter and the playful one-upmanship between the two of them, the teasing and ribbing between these two stalwarts was so precious. Farouq would say, ‘If Naseer and I are in a shot then it would be Naseer’s back to the camera.’ To this Naseer would retort, ‘Yes, of course ,because my back is more expressive than your face.’ And they would go on like this. It was such a pleasure to see them together.”
Farooq and Naseer also clashed playfully on their religious beliefs.
Says Sai, “ Farooq was very religious. Every Friday we’d have to relieve him of his work so he could go and pray. But Naseer was not at all religious.Yet he took his mother on a Haj pilgrimage. Farooq would tease Naseer about this.”
Sai feels a more generous and kind-hearted human being than Farooq was hard to find. “During the shooting of Chashme Buddoor in Delhi one of our light boys fell from the roof. He had to be hospitalized. Farooq would quietly visit the injured lightman and pay for his treatment. He said nothing about his generosity to any of us. He was silent doer.”
Falling silent the veteran, filmmaker finally speaks up. “Farooque was an angel. He was God’s child. One always says nice things about the departed. But honestly, even if Farooq were alive I wouldn’t have a single bad thing to say about him. I’d call him a big flirt. I’d say, ‘Farooq, kuch toh sharam kijiye.You are flirting with me and you’re flirting with my daughter, just because your mother is not here to see what you are up to.’ He was so sweet, so wonderful.”