Bollywood actor Farooq Sheikh died of a heart attack in Dubai late Friday night. He was 65.
Sheikh is best known for his roles in Katha, Saath Saath, and Chashme Buddoor. His last film was Club 60, which opened in theaters earlier this month.
Shabana Azmi, who described herself as a close friend of Sheikh, said she was still trying to come to terms with his death. The pair appeared together in more than 300 performances of the play Tumhari Amrita.
“Forty years ago, he and I started a theater group. It was a very long association, so it’s difficult to speak about his death,” Azmi tweeted.
Farooq Sheikh was active in Mumbai’s theater scene, and acted in a Hindi version of the British comedy Yes Minister. He won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for Lahore in 2010.
Ferroz Abbas Khan, who first began working with Sheikh in Tumhari Amrita, remembered the late actor as incredibly compassionate.
“If he found anyone in trouble, he would call and say, ‘Let us do a free show for them.’ If anyone in need went to him, they never came back empty-handed,” Khan told the Times of India. “When he was with you, he would make you more comfortable than anyone else. Whoever met him, became a permanent friend of his. It’s surprising that whoever he met, he would remain in constant touch with.”
Khan said that he and Sheikh did their last show of Tumhari Amrita on December 14 for the Taj Literary Festival. He and Shabana Amiz were excited, but Sheiki was “neutral” about the performance.
“But after performing Tumhari Amrita in front of the Taj Mahal, he was excited for the first time in 21 years and he said to me, ‘Feroz I don’t want pictures of any other show, but I want of this show as this will be my memory for life. We have performed the greatest love story in front of the world’s greatest monument of love,” Khan said.
Farooq Sheikh is survived by his wife, Rupa Jain, and daughters Shaista and Sanaa.