Surekha Sikri died of cardiac arrest at the age of 75 on 16 July. She became a household name in the twilight of her career, thanks to Balika Vadhu. The veteran actor played the cunning grandmother in the television series for eight years. But she was a decorated industry veteran before Balika Vadhu as well.
She had been suffering from the complications of two previous brain strokes.
A veteran of Hindi theatre, Surekha Sikri made her debut in the 1978 political drama film Kissa Kursi Ka and went on to play supporting roles in numerous Hindi and Malayalam films, as well as in Indian soap operas. Sikri received several awards, including three National Film Awards and a Filmfare Award.
Sikri won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress thrice, for her roles in Tamas (1988), Mammo (1995) and Badhaai Ho (2018). She was awarded the Indian Telly Award for Best Actress in a Negative Role in 2008 for her work in the primetime soap opera Balika Vadhu and won the Indian Telly Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the same show in 2011.
In addition, she won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1989 for her contributions to Hindi theatre.
Her last release, Badhaai Ho (2018) got her immense recognition and appreciation from viewers and critics. She won three awards: the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the film.
Sikri belonged to Uttar Pradesh and she spent her childhood in Almora and Nainital. At the beginning of her career, she attended Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. Later, she graduated from the National School of Drama (NSD) in 1971 and worked with the NSD Repertory Company for over a decade before shifting base to Mumbai. Surekha Sikri was the recipient of the 1989 Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
Her father was in the Indian Air Force and her mother was a teacher. She was married to Hemant Rege and she has a son, Rahul Sikri, who lives in Mumbai and works as an artist. Her husband, Hemant Rege, died due to heart failure on 20 October 2009.
Noted actor Naseeruddin Shah is her former brother-in-law, as his first marriage was with her step-sister Manara Sikri, also known as Parveen Murad. She is their daughter Heeba Shah’s maternal aunt. Heeba acted as the younger version of her aunt’s character Dadisa in the television serial Balika Vadhu.