Veteran actor Surekha Sikri who became a household name by essaying the role of a matriarch in television serial ‘Balika Vadhu’ breathed her last today after suffering a cardiac arrest at the age of 75. The three times National Award winner actor had been ill for a couple of years and suffered multiple brain strokes in the last couple of years. While for most of her fans, Sikri was the dominating Kalyani Devi Singh from Balika Vadhu, her innings in the Hindi film industry began a long ago after she passed out from India’s premier acting institution the National School of Drama. Here are some of the finest roles Sikri essayed in the world of moving pictures.
Helmed by veteran film director Govind Nihalani, Tamas was the film that brought the first National Award for Sikri. Cast along with intimidating veterans of the industry including late actors Om Puri, Amrish Puri, and Pankaj Kapur, Sikri shone in her small character called Rajo and bagged the first National award to her kitty.
Sikri may have been a phenomenal actor with multiple awards flanking her acting talent but she became popular on a mass level by a show that continued for several years on the small screen. Sikri played the role of household matriarch Kalyani Devi Singh(aka Dadisa) and was feared by all other characters in the show with her word being final. Her character grew on an interesting arc as Sikri, conditioned in a patriarchal society, favoured her grandson over his child bride but later on came to the defence of Anandi(the child bride who was the female protagonist of the series). The show unlike many of its contemporaries dealt with a contemporary problem of child marriage and hooked the loyal audience of television for several years.
The last National award was granted to Sikri for her supporting role in critically acclaimed and mass entertainer Badhaai Ho where she played the role of Ayushmann Khurrana’s grandmother with brilliance. The film which was based on old-age pregnancy and associated stigma saw Sikri deliver sharp dialogues evoking laughter. The chemistry between her and her dearest son(played by Gajaraj Rao) won many hearts.