‘Imagine! She had to audition for Badhaai Ho’

‘To hear this was heartbreaking.’
‘Imagine a stalwart like Surekhaji having to audition like a newcomer!’

Pankaj Tripathi is deeply moved by Surekha Sikri’s death.

“Her going meant a part of my life is gone,” Pankaj tells Subhash K Jha.

“I attended the National School Of Drama where she was a legend by the time I came in. We spoke of her like some invisible myth; as though her greatness as an actor was part of acting mythology.

“When Surekhaji died, I didn’t put my sorrow on social media,” he adds.

Aaj kal toh agar aap apne jazbaat ko social media pe nahin daalte, toh unka koi matlab hi nahin (nowadays if you don’t put your emotions on social media, they don’t mean anything). But I didn’t want my feelings for Surekhaji to be on display. I don’t need that kind of legitimacy. “

Pankaj says he was disturbed by Surekhaji‘s lack of work opportunities.

“I believe she had to audition for her last role in Badhaai Ho. To hear this was heartbreaking. Imagine a stalwart like Surekhaji having to audition like a newcomer! And yet, she did it like a thorough professional. I salute her passion.”

Pankaj confesses he was not affected by Dilip Kumar’s death.

“I didn’t know his work,” he explains. “I haven’t seen his films. So how can I be affected? Of course, I know we lost a great actor. But by the time I came in, he had quit acting. I have only seen his film Saudagar. Otherwise, only bits and pieces that come on television.”

There is a valid reason for Pankaj’s ignorance of Dilipsaab‘s histrionics.

“When I was growing up, my village Belsand in Bihar had no movie theatres. I had no exposure to the movie-theatre experience until I was an adult.”

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com

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