(This story was initially revealed on 4 November 2016. It’s being republished from The Quint archives on the event of the actor’s birthday on 25 March 2022.)
There was an enormous buzz as JP Dutta’s Umrao Jaan remake, starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, was to launch in 2006. There have been comparisons to the previous model of Muzaffar Ali’s Rekha-Naseeruddin and Farooq Shaikh starrer Umrao Jaan (1981). Nevertheless, nobody had approached Farooq to touch upon it but. He was on a self-imposed exile from the movie business and was assembly few folks.
It wasn’t simple to seek out him. He didn’t personal a cell phone in 2006. Even individuals who knew him hadn’t heard from him shortly. So for a narrative for a web site, I used to be working for then, I made a decision to attempt to speak to him. I discovered his tackle and landed up at his residence within the coronary heart of Andheri, Mumbai. His household was stunned.
Not like different filmy folks, they didn’t shoo me away however defined he received’t be assembly anybody for interviews. I left a hand-written be aware of how I discovered his tackle and why I wished to talk to him. Earlier than I reached the primary gate of the constructing, the safety received a name to ship me again upstairs. In that immediate, I knew I used to be going to get an interview.
Wearing a white Lucknawi chikan kurta and pyjama, 25 years later, he nonetheless regarded each little bit of Muzaffar Ali’s Nawab Sultan. Besides he wasn’t younger anymore and he didn’t put on a topi (cap) as his character within the movie did.
However his attribute innocence and sharp quirks had been very a lot there and so was his tehzeeb in the way in which he interacted. Not for as soon as did he run down the remake by JP Dutta, like most aged timers do when their movies are remade. However his sarcasm even at the price of self deprecation couldn’t be missed.
When requested about his position and what he considered his alternative within the remake he stated, “I want I had completed the position higher and regarded much less like a halwai ka beta and extra like a nawab ka beta. I feel it won’t take a lot to raised my work in Umrao Jaan as I’m not pleased with what I did. Abhishek is a reliable actor, and I received’t be stunned if he portrays the position a lot better than I did.”
Farooq saab got here throughout as a content material man. To search out folks like that within the movie business is a rarity. He knew he had completed selective good work however he was neither on the moon with it nor did he pine for the standard issues actors get trapped into. He nevertheless had a grouse about not being supplied higher. He stated, “I might like to do extra movies if I get the type of work I get pleasure from doing. I get affords that put me off the second I learn the script.”
His manner that day had a really calming impact. He was collected and spoke of the work he had completed up to now with a variety of ardour and detachment on the similar time. After I examine his demise, I didn’t really feel unhappy as a result of I knew he didn’t go together with any regrets. He had lived a full life in each sense of the phrase. Like solely a person of his caliber might… you get the drift from his reply…about what he considered his success within the movie business: “Hum to bas chalti gadi mein nazar aa rahe thhe. (We had been simply seen in a bus that occurred to be operating properly)”.
(This text is from The Quint’s archives and was first revealed on 4 November 2016. It’s now being republished to mark Farooq Shaikh’s demise anniversary.)