I can just review Surekha Sikri’s inheritance through tales, appearances and vignettes, somewhat recollected and mostly envisioned. An entertainer for whom exemplifications were made — and here and there disposed of. She was known for her trying and risky jumps on the stage through strong and splendid translations of characters that were exciting as well as hazardously invigorating.
I joined the National School of Drama (NSD) during the Seventies and the primary individual I met was an appealing delicate lady sitting in the container, wavy hair, cotton sari, blowing smoke rings noticeable all around. How cool is that, I thought. Her name, I found, was Surekha Sikri. She had a quality of quietness around her and talked in a deliberate tone, with almost no enunciation.
She would sit in any seat that was accessible, breaking the undetectable progressive system of senior and junior. She was a moderate and never broadcasted her feelings. Her private space couldn’t be punctured, as the carapace around her was invulnerable. During that period, the repertory and the school worked as one inventive unit. Manohar Singh, Uttara Baokar and Surekha Sikri were the magistrate of the repertory. The greater part of us were unassuming petitioners, overpowered by their colossal ability.
I never met Sikri after I left the NSD in 1975, yet her memory and effect wait, her pictures stay inserted. An entertainer who set the stage ablaze, making for the more youthful age the format of “good acting”. Her ability for difficult work and craftsmanship was obvious in the manner she etched and pounded a job in the smithy of her spirit. Her content was holy and on the off chance that I at any point looked at her half-open contents, I saw scrawls and notes, jottings and explanations arranging the direction of her job with constancy and creative mind.
For quite a long while, Sikri had been away from the stage. On screen, she played a scope of characters, from an overwhelming authority as Dadisa in Balika Vadhu to a grouchy hag in Badhai Ho. Tamas and Mammo got her public awards, however it was the stage where her splendidly nuanced translation and consuming power were in proof.
I have frequently considered Surekha in these mediating years, and her leaving theater unquestionably made a vacuum. Notwithstanding being an understudy of the dauntless Ebrahim Alkazi other than going through 15 years in the school repertory, she left to the fanciful universe of movies, to vulnerability and an equivocal chance. However the boldness needed to move away from a protected and recognizable space must be complimented. In theater, she was the most impressive “star” in the atmosphere. She entered the movies as a novice. This was, maybe, another difficult job that she chose to play!
Even after so numerous years, I can review the energy I encountered when I saw Alkazi’s creation of John Osborne’s Look Back In Anger. The studio theater was associated with the anteroom by a limited exhibition. I would watch the long line of individuals that assembled each evening for the show. This Alkazi creation with Surekha, Baokar and Manohar Singh had overwhelmed Delhi. The unstable exhibitions by the three heroes in “their rediscovery of the outburst” saw the rise of the screw-up interestingly on the Indian stage. In the peak scene, Surekha as Alison Porter produces dry broke cries that resonate in the little studio theater. Despite the fact that I was entranced by the play, I would be intrigued by an equal show that was going on in the amphitheater. Odd sounds would gush in the obscured theater and checking out I saw the crowd wheezing into their tissues while some straightforwardly cried. It appeared to be two plays were being performed at the same time. I had effectively seen 10 exhibitions and might have cheerfully seen 10 more. Every day after the show, when I used to go behind the stage to meet the entertainers, they would take a gander at me in surprise and shout, “Not once more”. After the show, she was troubled to such an extent that she was unable to take the customary blind call. She entered her job and turned into the ligaments and blood, the vessels and bones of the person. Does it seem like metaphor? Well in the event that it does, so be it.
The lone time I heard her being chastised was after a demonstration of Devyani Ka Kahna Hai. A scene in the play had Devyani, the hero, played by Sikri leaving her home with a bag. “You might have stuffed the bag with paper,” Alkazi hollered.
For quite a while, Sikri had been away from the stage, causing us to perceive the pressure of being in expressions of the human experience and battling for an occupation, its condemnations and motivations, its prizes and depression, its highs and lows in the entirety of its appearances.