Ali Peter John
Farouque Shaikh became the first artiste to receive the Bimal Roy Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award after his passing. So far in its 21 year history, the award has always been presented to a living individual.
The awards were presented to Shaikh and other luminaries Asha Parekh, Jackie Shroff, Ananth Mahadevan and Amit Rai at Savarkar Auditorium in Shivaji Park, Mumbai, Tuesday evening. Veteran actress Sulochanaji was present among the spectators.
Shaikh's elder daughter Shaaista accepted the honour. She said, "All the nice things you have heard about my father, or read about him, are true. He would be embarrassed to hear a family member praise him in public like this. But all those things are true! It is a matter of honour for anybody to receive an award that is associated with the name of Bimal Roy. I am sure my father would have felt the same way. Thank you to the Bimal Roy Memorial Film Society, Rinkiji and RJ Siddharth."
Farida Jalal who worked with Shaikh Sb in 'Shatranj Ke Khilari' presented the award to Shaaista. She recalled the fun they had during the shoot of the film and said, "After I lost my mother and then my husband, Farooque Sahab began to keep in touch more out of concern. That is the kind of person Farooque Sahab was. He was also concerned about my son Yaseen. One day he said I will be in touch with Yaseen more than you. Such a warmhearted person. We miss him terribly. But I take comfort in the knowledge that he is in a better place."
This unique honour for Shaikh Sahab marked the start of the Bimal Roy Awards ceremony. The presentation was preceded by a brief audio-visual featuring vignettes of his films from 'Garm Hava' to 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani'. Singer Sagar Savarkar gave a competent performance of Shaikh Sahab's unforgettable song from Saath Saath, 'Tumko dekha toh yeh khayaal aaya'.
RJ Siddharth, who was the host of the award ceremony, is evidently a fan. He recalled his two meetings with Shaikh Sahab. He echoed the impression that Shaikh made on viewers when he repeatedly using descriptions like "masoomiyat" (innocence) and "saadgi" (simplicity) to describe him. He mentioned how Shaikh Sahab travelled by autos and taxis without a care for his star status.
Senior artiste Pavan Malhotra who worked with Shaikh in 'Peechha Karro' and 'Children of War', praised him effusively. "Farooque Sahab was a genuinely grounded man who had no complex about travelling by autos and taxis. He would extend his arm and wave at you from afar. We were shooting in Dehradun once, and every other day, he would treat us to the choicest bakes from different local confectioners. I miss him deeply. He went away so young. I am so happy to see that you are honouring him here."
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