Farooq Shaikh is an Indian actor whose films belong to 1970s and 1980s. He studied Law and is a qualified lawyer, but before he began his practice he was called to Films. In his early days, he was active in Theatre, doing plays with Indian Peoples' Theatre Association (IPTA) with well-known directors like Sagar Sarhadi.
While in college, M. S. Sathyu a senior director who was casting for his classic film - Garam Hawa (1973), offered Farooq Shaikh a role which he readily accepted and that's how he got his first major break. The film got a lot of critical acclaim and Farooque Shaikh was noticed almost instantly.
Following Garan Hawa was Satyajit Ray’s only Hindi directorial venture Shatranj Ke Khiladi in 1977. This film gave him an opportunity to work with several talented actors like Sanjeev Kumar,Shabana Azmi, Saeed Jaffrey etc. Gaman follwed (1978) and Farooque Shaikh had set himself safely in the Hindi film industry. After this came the immensely successful romantic film, Noorie (1979). He played the innocent lover avenging his beloved’s death. This film as well as the music was a big hit.
With Umrao Jaan and Chashme Badoor both releasing in 1981, he displayed his versatility to the audience. In the former film he played the beloved of the protagonist who then ditches her, while the latter was a light hearted comedy about 3 unemployed youngsters and their futile attempts to please a girl. Bazaar & Saath Saath (1982) further provided him a platform to display his acting skills. Katha which released in 1983 and was directed by Sai Paranzpe had him play a character with negative shades for the first time. Though it had grey shades to it, the negativity was very subtle and real and he managed to do complete justice to it. Rang Birangee (1983), Faasle (1985) and Ek Pal (1986) were other films that did well. Out of these Ek Pal won a few awards too. With the arrival of action genre in Hindi cinema by the late 80’s, the roles offered to him began to dwindle. Few films that he did during this period like Khel Mohabbat ka, Gharwali Baharwali and Rajlaxmi failed to draw any audiences. However, he still did a few notable roles in Biwi Ho To Aisi which starred Rekha opposite him. Also, Maya Memsaab a film that may not have done well at the box-office but got a lot of critical acclaim featured him. He was last seen in Mohabbat in 1997 and took a break from acting since. Then after a gap of 12 years he was first seen on TV. Farookh has created a market for himself in this medium though more as a comedian. He has also acted in many comedies on television and performed on stage in famous productions such as Tumhari Amrita.
Despite his memorable performances, he is yet awaiting good work. He is now a day’s busy working with his serial Ji Mantri Ji. He is set to make a comeback to films in 2008 with Saas Bahu Aur Sensex.
His major contribution was in Parallel Cinema or New Indian Cinema. He has worked with directors like Satyajit Ray, Muzaffar Ali, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Ketan Mehta. He is successfully hosted the very famous Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai which was aired on Zee TV . He is remembered for one of his famous songs Tumko Dekha to Ye Khayal Aaya sung by Jagjit Singh.