Actor par excellence, dancer extraordinaire and possibly the only among her contemporaries to master a comic timing, Sridevi leaves behind a void impossible to fill.
Sridevi passed away in Dubai on Feb 24, at the age of 54.
Across a span of 300 films and 50 years, she enjoyed diverse roles and an opportunity to reach out to different sections of the audience. In an interview with Hindustan Times, she had spoken about her love of being the leading lady in multiple projects.
“I got to wear different clothes, I got to do the best roles. If the picture does well, I’m surprised and happy; and if it doesn’t do well, it’s part of your profession. You see what went wrong and try not to do the same mistake,” she had said.
Awarded the Padma Shri in 2013, Sridevi was known to be reserved and generally kept to herself. Reminiscing about a meeting with her, actor Juhi Chawla said: “We lived in the same building. Once in a while when I would go for a walk, I would see her jogging, with earphones plugged in. I would often see her taking evening walks when there would be fewer people around. She would often say hello. She was very shy and would prefer to be on her own. I met her on several occasions and she has always been very sweet and soft-spoken in real life as well. She kept more to herself. She was just fabulous and magical on screen and I will always be her fan.”
Married to producer Boney Kapoor in 1996, Sridevi took an eight-year sabbatical from Hindi movies before returning with English Vinglish in 2012, a comeback that was received warmly by the audience.
Sridevi’s last film in the Southern film industry was a Tamil fantasy film, Puli (2015), which won her many accolades. The actor was to be seen next in a cameo in Zero, directed by filmmaker Anand L. Rai.
Here are 10 cinematic milestones of Sridevi’s worth revisiting today
Thunaivan (1969): Sridevi plays Lord Muruga in the devotional film shot in both black-and-white and Eastman colour.
Moondram Pirai (1982): Balu Mahendra’s immortal classic features Sridevi as a woman who regresses to childhood after a car accident and Kamal Haasan as a kind school teacher who takes her in. It was remade in Hindi as Sadma.
Himmatwala (1983): K.Raghavendra Rao’s musical blockbuster co-starring Jeetendra brought Sridevi to the notice of Hindi-speaking audiences and earned her the infamous “Thunder Thighs” title.
Nagina (1986): By the mid-1980s, Sridevi had firmly established herself as a bankable star in Bollywood. Harmesh Malhotra’s tale of a shape-shifting woman was ample proof.
Mr India (1987): Bollywood’s iconic superhero film featured a relatively unknown cast with only one marquee name to bolster it. Sridevi plays an idealistic reporter helping the invisible man on the job who eventually falls in love with him.
Chaalbaaz (1989): In Pankaj Parashar’s comedy, Sridevi plays twins separated at birth: a simpleton tormented by her relatives and a street-smart dancer. The film that brought her incomparable comic timing to the fore remains one of her best recognised performances.
Chandni (1989): Yash Chopra’s romantic drama made Sridevi what she was meant to be: the top female star of her time. A full-bloodied singing, dancing spectacle, it was the hugest commercial blockbuster of the year.
Kshana Kshanam (1992): Sridevi plays a petty thief in Ram Gopal Varma’s Telugu-language road thriller. The sleeper hit won her much acclaim.
Lamhe (1991): Yash Chopra’s coming-of-age romantic film may have been a commercial failure at the time of release but has gained cult status since. Sridevi plays an older woman whom a young Anil Kapoor is besotted with. Many years later, she’s also the woman’s daughter in love with an older Kapoor.
English Vinglish (2012): Sridevi made a much anticipated comeback in Gauri Shinde’s comedy drama about a middle-aged woman discovering herself after several years of marriage and a language handicap. – Tribune News Service