She Was a Director's Actor: Shyam Benegal Remembers Surekha Sikri

Shyam Benegal and Surekha Sikri worked together in 'Mammo', 'Sardari Begum' and 'Zubeidaa'.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Filmmaker Shyam Benegal remembers Surekha Sikri.</p></div>

Veteran actor Surekha Sikri passed away on Friday at the age of 75. Sikri had worked with renowned filmmaker Shyam Benegal in his trilogy - Mammo, Sardari Begum and Zubeidaa. Remembering Sikri, Benegal tells The Quint that she was an outstanding actor.

"Surekha Sikri was an absolutely great actor. One of the precious assets of National School of Drama. When I met her for the first time, she was part of a famous play and she gave an outstanding performance. I immediately made a note to keep her in mind because her diction, speech, and quality of performance were outstanding. I got my first opportunity to work with her in 'Mammo'. She played Fayyazi, Mammo's sister. It was followed by the second film 'Sardari Begum', where she played the Ittan Bai. Then came 'Zubeidaa'. Surekha Sikri worked in three of my films".
Shyam Benegal, Veteran filmmaker

Benegal adds that she was a quiet person by nature and extremely professional.

"She was a director's actor. What was marvellous about her was that, owing to her theatre background, she would come absolutely prepared. Theatre actors are a breed apart. So disciplined. Surekha Sikri wouldn't just prepare her lines, she would also take care of her costumes and make-up. She wouldn't depend on anybody. She had those qualities. Surekha never showed any temperament or wasted your time. When we would give her lines and explain her roles, she would internalise them. She would come to the sets 100% ready. Others would make mistakes but not Surekha. Be it her timing, cues or lines, Surekha would never go wrong. She was a quiet person. She came, did her work and went", the filmmaker says.

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