I’ve no energy to make films: Farooque Sheikh (Interview)

By Radhika Bhirani, IANS
Thursday, January 20, 2011

MUMBAI - His contemporaries like Naseeruddin Shah and Deepti Naval have branched out into filmmaking, but theatre veteran and movie actor Farooque Sheikh says he is content doing a few films and has no inclination whatsoever to go behind the camera.

“See, I like doing little work. I have no ‘akal’ (intelligence) and no ‘taakat’ (energy) to make my own films. I’m happy doing just one or two films or TV projects in a year or two,” Farooque told IANS.

“Last year I did a film called ‘Lahore’ - it was in the theatres for three-four weeks and then ‘uska ram nam satya ho gaya’ (the buzz died soon). But by chance, people appreciated my work and I even got a National Award. So I am happy with my creative life.”

The 62-year-old, who was recently on the jury of Sony TV’s CID Gallantry Awards, has worked with the cream of the Indian film industry during his over 35-year-old career.

Even after having worked with names like Satyajit Ray in “Shatranj Ke Khiladi”, Hrishikesh Mukherjee in “Rang Birangi”, Yash Chopra in “Noorie” and “Faasle” and Sai Paranjpe in “Katha” and “Chashme Buddoor”, he always chose to maintain a low profile.

In the 1990s, he shifted focus to the small screen and featured in series like”Chamatkar” and “Ji Mantri Ji”, and returned to the big screen only for dormant appearances, that too in 2008 with “Saas, Bahu Aur Sensex”.

In the following year, he was seen in “Accident On Hill Road”, which according to him was “quite a bad accident”.

But “Lahore” worked in his favour and won him a National Award for best supporting actor.

Now Farooque is looking forward to the release of “Tell Me Oh Khuda”, a film by Hema Malini to resurrect her daughter Esha Deol’s acting career. The movie also features actors like Deepti Naval, Dharmendra, Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna and Hema herself.

“Hemaji is one of our most respected and loved film fraternity artists. So when she talks to you about something, wants you to do something, the first reaction is that I want to contribute whatever I can. I couldn’t have said no.

“Then when I went through the narration, I felt the story was okay. Also, we wanted to cooperate with Hemaji so that Eshaji can get a boost. Another attraction was that there were so many admired actors who are part of the team. So we are all very happy about it,” said Farooque, dressed in his trademark crisp, pristine white chikankari kurta.

The actor, whose play “Tumhari Amrita” is being staged for the past 19 years, says Bollywood is currently in its best times thanks to the massive pool of work and talent available.

“We, in India, make the largest number of films. If you count the number of actors who can do significant roles in Hindi, there must be less than 30, and if you divide them by the number of films made per year, you will realise there are several offers available.

“Every actor has the option of picking and choosing out of a huge pool of work that is readily available nowadays. Add to that, 10 times more work being offered from television…so the work market is flooded.

“For me, like any actor, it is a very happy time to be in the industry because there’s a lot of work.”

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)

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