Bollywood stars including Anupam Kher, Shabana Azmi and Farhan Akhtar gathered in Mumbai, India on Monday (30Dec13) to bid a final farewell to late actor Farooq Sheikh. The veteran actor passed away at the age of 65 on Friday (27Dec13) after suffering a heart attack while on vacation in Dubai with his family.
His body was flown into Mumbai Airport on Monday afternoon before family members and celebrities congregated for Sheikh's funeral in the evening.
The actor was buried next to his mother Farida's grave at a burial ground in the city's Andheri area.
Azmi, who starred alongside Sheikh in an play called Tumhari Amrita, paid tribute to the late star, saying, "Parda gir gaya hai (the curtain has fallen). This was our last play which we performed together on December 14 in Agra. There will be no show without Farooq."
Actor Kher adds, "This man had an aura of positivity around him. He touched so many lives."
Bollywood star Imran Khan is fronting a campaign against the ban on homosexuality which was reinstated by India's Supreme Court earlier this month (Dec13). On 11 December (13), officials withdrew a 2009 Delhi High Court order which decriminalised intercourse between same-sex partners and replaced it with a 153-year-old law banning homosexuality.
Since the ruling, Khan has joined forces with Indian comedy group All India Backc**d to challenge the decision by shooting a satirical video about how homosexuality is perceived in the country.
The actor tells India's The Hindustan Times, "I've always been involved with gay rights. The scenario in this country is disheartening and depressing. These are basic human rights that people are being denied of; they're no minority. The idea of this initiative is to show those who do not support homosexuality, how ridiculous their thinking is."
In the clip, Khan can be seen answering questions from members of the public on the subject of homosexuality.
Following the ruling, several Bollywood stars including Farhan Akhtar and Anushka Sharma have taken to Twitter.com to publicly denounce the decision.
Bollywood stars including Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar have criticised India's supreme court officials after they reinstated a ban on homosexuality. A judgement on Wednesday (11Dec13) overturned a landmark 2009 Delhi High Court order decriminalising intercourse between same-sex partners. The reintroduction of the 153-year-old colonial law means someone convicted of engaging in gay sex faces a maximum 10-year jail sentence.
After the ruling was announced, a number of Indian movie stars took to Twitter.com to denounce the decision.
Actress Sharma writes, "So disappointed with the SC (supreme court) verdict. Freedom is such a deceptive term. Rights are an ambiguous mystery."
Actor/director Akhtar adds, "The Supreme Court got it wrong today," while singer/actress Shruti Haasan wrote, "11.12.13 a day that reminds us how blatant regressing and oppressing someone has become - plan b move bedroom to another planet and time... (It is) frightening how someone else decides how when and who you should love - basically freedom of choice isn't legal anymore".
Filmmaker Anand Gandhi concludes, "Only a highly uninformed mind can have (the) arrogance of assuming that consenting adults having sex is any of their business."
Other stars from the international entertainment industry have also spoken out to condemn the ruling, with openly gay Australian singer Darren Hayes writing, "My experience of India is of the kindest most spiritual and loving beings on the planet. Doesn't make sense to me."
Actress Mia Farrow adds, "Very dark day for freedom and human rights as Indian Supreme Court rules to criminalise homosexuality."