Surekha Sikri, the veteran Indian actor, died on Friday morning after suffering a cardiac arrest in Mumbai at the age of 76.
The actor had earlier suffered a paralytic stroke in 2018 and a brain stroke in September 2020.
In a career spanning over 40 years, Sikhri had worked in around 50 films, television serials and short films, and bagged three National awards along the way. She won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for her roles in Tamas (1988), Mammo (1995) and Badhaai Ho (2018). She also won a Filmfare award, a Screen award and six Indian Television Academy awards.
Sikri, who was also a renowned theatre personality, made her debut in cinema with the Hindi film Kissaa Kursee Kaa (1978). She went on to appear in several critically acclaimed films including Staying On (1980), Anaadi Anant (1986), Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro (1989), Parinati (1989), Nazar (1990), Karamati Coat (1993), Little Buddha (1993), Naseem (1995), Sardari Begum (1996), Sarfarosh (1999), Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2003), Raincoat (2004), Humko Deewana Kar Gaye (2006), Dev.D (2009), Sniff (2017), and Ghost Stories (2020).
She was also part of the 1998 Malayalam film Janmadinam.
Sikri was an unforgettable presence across households in India with her role of Kalyani Devi in the Hindi television serial Balika Vadhu. She also appeared in other serials such as Pardes Mein Hai Mera Dil (2017), Saat Phere – Saloni Ka Safar (2006), Ek Tha Raja Ek Thi Rani (2015), Kesar, Tehreer … Munshi Premchand Ki, Banegi Apni Baat, and Bharat Ek Khoj.
The film fraternity as well as members of the television industry paid tribute and expressed condolences on the actor’s demise.
Speaking to Silverscreen India, actor Gajraj Rao said, “Surekha ji is no more with us, 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.”
Actor Manoj Bajpayee wrote, “Very Sad news! One of the greatest talents Surekha Sikri ji passed away leaving behind so many great performances in theatre and cinema. She was a treat to watch on stage.” He added, “Great craft and a graceful person!”
Expressing her grief, actor Neena Gupta shared a one minute 23 second video on Instagram in which she spoke about working with the late actor. She shared how she admired Sikri and wanted to become an actor like her, and then finally worked with her in Badhaai Ho.
Other celebrities who paid their tribute to the late actor through social media included actors Janhvi Kapoor, Randeep Hooda, Kritika Kamra, Anirudh Dave, Akanksha Puri, singer Nirupama Kotru, and others.
Sikri is survived by her son Rahul.