Shaikh had heart attack while on vacation

On Saturday morning, the country woke up to the news that Indian cinema had lost its most beloved everyman, Farooque Shaikh. The veteran actor died following a cardiac arrest in Dubai late on Friday night. He was 65 and is survived by his wife Rupa Vakil and two daughters Shaista (32) and Sanaa (28). The funeral is likely to take place on Monday evening after his body is flown back from Dubai after the completion of formalities.

His friend and colleague Ramesh Talwar said Farooque was in Dubai with his family on a personal visit and had no health issues until a few days back. "He collapsed after a coughing fit. His family says it was a heart attack that proved fatal," said Talwar, who has known Shaikh since the latter's days as students at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai.

It's also during his college days that Shaikh started to nurture a love for acting. Along with Shabana Azmi, he was active in the dramatics society, and she advised him to take up acting as his career. He, however, chose to follow in the footsteps of his lawyer father Mustafa Shaikh. But the qualified lawyer was soon disillusioned and returned to pursue his passion.

It was Talwar who also got Shaikh his break in films in M S Sathyu's Garam Hawa (1973). "Although it had Balraj Sahani in the lead role, his role as a young student and idealist in post-partition India got Farooque's talent recognised," recounts veteran director Sai Paranjpye who cast him in two most memorable films Chashme Buddoor (1981) and Katha (1983).

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