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Ayushmann Khurrana, Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta Share Memories With Surekha Sikri

Gajraj Rao believes Surekha Sikri's craft was defined by her years of 'riyaaz'.

Updated
Celebrities
4 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Gajraj Rao and Surekha Sikri with the cast of&nbsp;<em>Badhaai Ho&nbsp;</em>including Neena Gupta, Ayushmann Khurrana, and Sanya Malhotra</p></div>
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For decades, late Surekha Sikri created magic on screen, and has multiple National Awards to her name. After her demise today, several celebrities remembered the actor for her versatility and charm. Her Badhaai Ho co-star Gajraj Rao remembers Surekha for her dedication and child-like enthusiasm.

Gajraj Rao told The Quint, "Surekha ji is no more with us today, but the memories of her relentless dedication for her craft and child-like enthusiasm will always remain with me. I will always be thankful to have had the honour of working with a legend like her in 'Badhaai Ho.'"

He took to social media to share pictures from the sets of Badhaai Ho and talked about the experience of working with Surekha.

"Making a film is like travelling in a train, where the journey is a destination in itself. You meet all kinds of co-passengers here. Some open up their tiffins and hearts to you, while some guard their luggage and eye you with suspicion," he tweeted.

"Badhaai Ho will always be that special train journey which brought me to a new station in life, and I'm truly thankful that we had someone like Surekha ji as the emotional anchor of this ship. She was definitely the youngest at heart on the sets, and had no airs about her stature or endless experience as an actress."
Gajraj Rao, Twitter

"Her craft was defined by her years of homework and 'riyaaz' as an actress, combined with a child-like enthusiasm. As all journeys must end eventually, we bid goodbye to Surekha ji today," he said.

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Neena Gupta, who also worked in Badhaai Ho, took to Instagram to share her grief with her followers. In a video message, she said in Hindi, "They say grief becomes lighter when it's shared. Today morning I got the saddening news that Surekha Sikri ji is no more."

Neena recalled watching Surekha perform during her days at NSD.

"I thought I'd share my grief with you. When we were students at NSD (National School of Drama), she was in the NSD Repertory Company and they used to do many plays. We would sneak in and watch her act and I used to think that 'I wanted to be this kind of actor'."
Neena Gupta
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"Then we worked together in Badhaai Ho, and Saloni before that, and even now I'd keep looking at her when she was doing a scene. I got to learn so much and there was still so much left to learn. And the commitment she had, even at that age," she added.

Neena further said, "There's a scene in Badhaai Ho where she rebukes my in-laws. So when it was time for her give me my cue, she was told that she didn't have to use the same energy every time. But, even if it took 10 takes, she gave every cue with the same gusto. I feel very sad that she's no more."

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Actor Ayushmann Khurrana shared his last memory of Surekha Sikri in an Instagram post. He shared pictures of himself with Surekha from Badhaai Ho.

"In every film we have a family and we end up spending more time with the film family than our own families. One such beautiful family was in Badhai Ho. Out of all my films, it was the perfect family with a perfect cast. Surekha Sikri was the head of our family, who was more progressive than the entire family tree. You know what, that was her in real life too. A complete boho," he wrote.

"A chiller. Young at heart. I remember when she was boarding an auto rickshaw after the screening of our film, Tahira and I gave her a lift back home and we said 'ma’am you are the real star of our film' and she replied 'wish I get more work.' Tahira and I were speechless. We watched her frail demeanour walking towards her building. That’s my last memory of her."

"I would request you to watch her recite Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s nazm 'Mere mehboob mujhse pehli si mohabbat na maang.' Aapko unse aur mohabbat ho jaayegi. (You'll fall deeper in love with her) An impeccable performer. A consummate artiste. A legend. You’ll be missed Surekha ma’am. Thank you for the beautiful memories. #RIPSurekhaSikri."

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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