To an entire generation of Indian viewers, Surekha Sikri’s name is synonymous with iconic TV show Baalika Vadhu and more recently, Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer Badhaai Ho. Needless to say, she is a stalwart in acting, having worked with a number of well-known directors through 1970s and 1980s and won several awards. But did you know she is related to veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah? Here’s how.
Naseer married twice; before marrying Ratna Pathak Shah, Naseer was briefly married to a woman named Manara Sikri (also known as Parveen Murad). As per various reports, Naseer married Manara, who was allegedly 14 years his senior. Despite parental opposition, they married and had a daughter, Heeba Shah. Manara is the step sister of Surekha. Naseer and Manara were only briefly married as they soon filed for divorce. That makes Heeba Shah Surekha’s niece. As per a report in Telechakkar, Heeba briefly played Dadisa in Baalika Vadhu.
Surekha has a son named Rahul Sikri, reportedly from her first marriage. She was married to advertising professional Hemant Rege till his death in 2009. Speaking about her family in an interview to Filmfare in 2020, Sukerha had said: “My son Rahul is unmarried or else I’d have been a great mother-in-law. My nieces, Heeba and Bushra, are like my daughters though. My elder sister, Parveen Murad, was hugely talented. She was an ophthalmologist. She studied law. She could sculpt, paint… My younger sister Phoolmani stays in my building. Interesting name isn’t it?”
Speaking about her late husband, she had fondly said: “I loved my husband dearly. I miss him. He was in ad production. We had a good marriage. He was a sweet and affectionate gentleman. Rahul is my son from the first marriage. He’s an artist.” Her first marriage had reportedly ended in a divorce.
Surekha, a veteran who has starred in a number of well known films and TV shows, most famous being Govind Nihalani’s Tamas, hit the national limelight as the stern and unyielding matriarch Kalyani Devi in Balika Vadhu. She was part of the show from its inception 2008 till its end in 2016. Her character’s own progression from being a negative one to a benign mother figure in the serial over a course of its eight year journey, has been much appreciated.
In 2018’s Badhaai Ho, Surekha had a supporting role, playing central character – Neena Gupta’s mother-in-law. The film was centred around sex between a middle-aged couples and late pregnancies. The otherwise acerbic-tongued mother-in-law’s whole hearted support to her daughter-in-law and son was greeted with applause.
Surekha was again seen in Zoya Akhtar’s Ghost Stories, in a track featuring Janhvi Kapoor.
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Those from an older generation will remember her for a role as Rajo in Partition drama, Tamas. As a middle-aged Muslim woman, giving shelter to an aged Sikh couple, in riot-hit undivided Punjab, Surekha was riveting, even in a supporting role. It won her the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. She went on to win the award twice – for Mammo (1995) and later for Badhaai Ho (2018).