Indian actor Farooq Shaikh, the plump, unlikely hero of scores of Bollywood films, has died. He was 65.
Reports say that Shaikh suffered a heart attack Friday in Dubai, where he was visiting with his family.
Shaikh's film career began on a high note with the 1973 new wave film "Garm Hawa," about the 1947 partition of the subcontinent at the end of British rule. His performance earned him a key role in director Satyajit Ray's "The Chess Players," about the decadence of India's feudal classes.
Shaikh's cherubic looks struck a chord with ordinary people who tended to identify with his man on the street image.
Bollywood reacted sadly to the news of Shaikh's death, with several celebrities tweeting their condolences.
Noted Indian actress Shabana Azmi, who described herself as a close friend, said she was still trying to come to terms with Shaikh's death.
"Forty years ago, he and I started a theater group. It was a very long association, so it's difficult to speak about his death," Azmi tweeted.
Azmi and Shaikh appeared together in more than 300 performances of the play "Tumhari Amrita."
Shaikh was active in Mumbai's theater scene, and acted in a Hindi version of the satirical British comedy "Yes Minister" on
Indian television. He also produced a popular TV show on which he interviewed Hindi film stars.
Shaikh is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Bollywood took to Twitter and Facebook to pay tribute:
God! Farooq Sheikh passes away? A true gentleman, a wonderful colleague! A quiet honesty about him. Very very sad!
OMAR ABDULLAH (Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir)
Only ever met him once and didn’t actually know him but he was an amazingly polite gentleman. Very pleasant encounter. RIP Farooq Sheikh Sahib
MOHIT CHAUHAN (Singer)
The world’s a lesser place today. You will be missed sir. #RIPFarooqSheikh saab
Deeply saddened to hear about Farooq Sheikh. Will miss his warmth, acting skills and gentlemanly demeanour. RIP sir.
RIP Farooqji. A gentleman actor. You’ll be missed
#RIPFarooqShaikh. Garam Hawa, Chashme Buddoor, Umrao Jaan, Katha, Shanghai. List of brilliance is endless. Life passionately dedicated to his art
Shocked to hear about a great human, wonderful actor Farukh Shaikh’s sudden demise. RIP Farukh Saab. God bless the departed soul. Prayers.
Can’t believe Farooq sheikh has passed away!! Nicest,kindest n most gracious.
Shocked beyond words – Rip Farooq Sheikh – you will be missed sir
Farooq Sheikh passes away! Shocked, numbed and saddened. Was supposed to be shooting with him today. A gentleman actor is no more!