Renowned filmmaker Shyam Benegal, Neena Gupta, and Manoj Bajpayee, among others, paid tribute to the three-time National Award-winning performer, Sukrekha Sikri, who died following a cardiac arresr on Friday morning, remembering her as one of the entertainment industry's "best talent."
Benegal, who has worked with Sikri on films such as 'Mammo,' 'Sardari Begum,' and 'Zubeidaa,' said it was a pleasure to see Sikri perform.
“I am very sorry to hear about her demise. She was an extremely successful actor in theatre and I had seen her plays in Delhi and that's how I was introduced to her work. She gave an outstanding performance in three of my films," he said.
Sikri received the National Picture Award for her work in the 1994 feature film 'Mammo,' which also starred Farida Jalal.
"She was such a brilliant actor that whatever role you gave her she would own it. She played both sympathetic and non-sympathetic roles with elan. She was a top-class, highly competent actor," Benegal said.
The critically-acclaimed filmmaker said Sikri was a director's actor and a disciplined artiste.
“One of the things about theatre actors is that they are disciplined and she was also a very disciplined person. She would come on sets absolutely prepared. She never wasted her time or her. She was a director's actor. She was a huge asset on any film,” he added.
Off-camera, Benegal said she was a "quiet person".
Actor Neena Gupta, who played daughter-in-law to a Sikri's character in the 2018 sleeper hit 'Badhaai Ho', said she was deeply saddened by the veteran actor's demise.
“Today morning I got this very sad news that Surekha Sikri is no more. I want to share my grief with you all. I feel so sad that she is no more,” Gupta said in a video message on Instagram.
The 62-year-old actor recalled being enamoured by Sikri's performance during her National School of Drama (NSD) days.
“I remember when I was a student in the National School of Drama and how we would sneak in and watch her act. I think I want to become an actress like her. This was many many years ago,” she said.
Before 'Badhaai Ho', Sikri and Gupta had worked on the TV show 'Saat Phere - Saloni Ka Safar'. Gupta said she learned a lot by just watching the veteran actor.
“…I would just keep watching her when she would do her scenes. And there was so much I learnt (observing her) and there was so much more to learn as well. She said what commitment she had,” she said adding that Sikri kept giving her cues till she got a perfect shot.
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The film, also starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Gajraj Rao and Sanya Malhotra, had Sikri winning her third National Film Award for best-supporting actress in 2019.
Actor Manoj Bajpayee, her co-star from the 2001 film, 'Zubeidaa', remembered her as a "graceful person" who gave her 100 per cent to the craft of acting.
“Very Sad news! One of the greatest talents Surekha Sikari ji passed away leaving behind so many great performances in theatre and cinema!! She was a treat to watch on stage. Can’t forget some of those memories of her act in theatre. Great craft and a graceful person!! RIP,” he wrote.
Very Sad news !!! One of the greatest talent Surekha Sikari ji passed away leaving behind so many great performances in theatre and cinema!! She was a treat to watch on stage.can’t forget some of those memories of her act in theatre.great craft and a graceful person!! RIPðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ— manoj bajpayee (@BajpayeeManoj) July 16, 2021
Filmmaker Zoya Akhtar, Janhvi Kapoor, and Vijay Varma, who worked with Sikri on her last project "Ghost Stories", paid homage to the actor on Instagram.
Actor-producer Pooja Bhatt said she was a force of nature. “She was a force of nature if ever there was one. Hence I won’t say rest in peace but RAGE in peace Surekhaji. As you did, during your time on earth!,” she tweeted.
She was a force of nature if ever there was one. Hence I won’t say rest in peace but RAGE in peace Surekhaji. As you did,during your time on earth! ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ https://t.co/fg79qdGb7U— Pooja Bhatt (@PoojaB1972) July 16, 2021
Actor Dia Mirza said Sikri was an artist par excellence who inspired generations of performers and will continue to do so.
“There is no one like her. Absolutely no one. What an extraordinary woman. An artist par excellence. Those eyes and that smile. Her craft will inspire generations of performers. Was lucky to have the chance to witness her magic in person #RIPSurekhaSikri,” she said in a tweet.
There is no one like her. Absolutely no one. What an extraordinary woman. An artist par excellence. Those eyes and that smile ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¤© Her craft will inspire generations of performers. Was lucky to have the chance to witness her magic in person ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ»âÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¨ #RIPSurekhaSikri pic.twitter.com/UXxXKUNdVK— Dia Mirza (@deespeak) July 16, 2021
Filmmaker Anubhav Sinha wrote, “Surekha Sikri is no more. Now, no magic will happen."
à¤¸à¥ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¤°à¥ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¤ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ à¤¸à¥ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¤ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¤°à¥ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ à¤ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¥ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ à¤¨à¤¹à¥ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¤ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ à¤°à¤¹à¥ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¤ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¥¤ à¤ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¥ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¤ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ à¤ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¤¾à¤¦à¥ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ à¤¨à¤¹à¥ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¤ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ à¤¹à¥ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ à¤¸à¤ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¥ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¤ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¤ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂà¥ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ à¤ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ à¤¬à¥¤— Anubhav Sinha (@anubhavsinha) July 16, 2021
TV actor Shashank Vyas, who worked alongside Sikri in TV show 'Balika Vadhu', said she was full of "life and positivity".
"She was an institution herself. She was a legend a natural actress. She was full of life and positivity. She lived life on her own terms and had a sense of humour. I learned a lot from her in those five years. We both shared an extremely close bond," Vyas said.
(With Inputs from PTI)