She was one of her kind, truly special

By Subhash K Jha

We all say good things about the dead. But Sridevi was truly special. Her mere presence could light up the screen like no other actress.

Sridevi started her career as a child actor when she was all of four. “I knew nothing about acting at that age. I’d do exactly what the director asked me to do. I think I continued doing that in my later years,” she once told me. All our conversations were coordinated by her devoted husband Boney Kapoor. It was always difficult to make Sridevi talk. She was always an actor, not a talker. I don’t think she enjoyed talking about herself. And she was extremely health conscious. No late nights, no partying. Though she avoided eating beyond her dietary regime, Sridevi loved to feed others. I remember when former actress Asin came to stay in her building, Sridevi would prepare and carry tiffins with South Indian goodies for the younger actress. Sridevi was shy. But once she took to you, she was comfortable. She loved having fun and enjoyed going out for meals and shopping with her daughters Jahnvi and Khushi. What made her very uncomfortable were the gawking crowds. She longed for privacy and for uninterrupted time with her precious family. The craving for private time with the family came from her childhood when baby Sridevi spent hours in and out of studios in Chennai and Hyderabad, playing roles when she should just have been… well, playing. Her stint as a Bollywood star began in 1978 ith “Solva Sawan”, which bombed. She was all but written out of Bollywood for the next three years until she was re-launched in “Himmatwala” in 1981. There was no looking back thereafter. Jeetendra, who starred with Sridevi in “Himmatwala” and a string of hits in the 1980s, told me of her self-discipline. “Uss ladki mein ek lagan tha… ek junoon thi. She was determined to make it as big in Hindi cinema as she was in Tamil and Telugu. I’ve never seen a more hard-working actress.” After her marriage to Bollywood producer Boney Kapoor, Sridevi slowed down her career but returned with a bang in 2012 with “English Vinglish”. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, a huge Sridevi fan, remembers his last meeting with her. “She came to my special screening of ‘Padmaavat’ with Boney Kapoor. She loved my film and said she wanted to work with me. That wasn’t destined to happen. It will remain a lacuna in my oeuvre. How could she go so suddenly? Sridevi can’t die. She’s magic. “There is nobody else who can do ‘Hawa hawaai’ and ‘Kate nahin katte’ the way she can. She had natural-born instincts for the camera, which she sharpened and honed over the years. It is strange to be talking about her in the past tense’ I can’t believe she’s gone,” Bhansali added.]]>

Stunned India mourns Sridevi's death at 54

Saddened by the untimely demise of noted actor Sridevi. She was a veteran of the film industry, whose long career included diverse roles and memorable performances. My thoughts are with her family and admirers in this hour of grief. May her soul rest in peace: PM @narendramodi

— PMO India (@PMOIndia) February 25, 2018 Sridevi was in Dubai to attend the marriage function of actress Sonam Kapoor’s cousin Mohit Marwah, along with husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi. She exuded elegance in her appearances — photos and videos that were now being shared on social media as her “last”. Confirming the news of her death, Sridevi’s brother-in-law and actor Sanjay Kapoor, told IANS: “Yes, it is true.”
Obituary: She Was One of Her Kind

The Indian Embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Indian Consulate in Dubai were assisting the family to expedite the process to bringing her body to India as soon as possible. The actress is remembered for her performance is some of the iconic Bollywood films like “Mr. India”, “Nagina”, “Sadma”, “ChalBaaz”, “Chandni”, “Khuda Gawah”, among many others in different Indian languages. The Padma Shri recipient, who made a comeback to Bollywood in 2012 with “English Vinglish” after a long break of 15 years, was last seen in “Mom” in 2017. Apparently having a premonition, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi’s co-star in half a dozen films, including “Khuda Gawah” had tweeted at 1.15 am on Sunday: “I don’t know, but I feel a strange sense of unease.” The untimely death of the veteran actress has left the country shocked. President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned her demise. “Shocked to hear of passing of movie star Sridevi. She has left millions of fans heartbroken,” Kovind tweeted. Modi also took to Twitter, saying: “Saddened by the untimely demise of noted actor Sridevi. She was a veteran of the film industry, whose long career included diverse roles and memorable performances.” Southern movie stars and politicians Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan also expressed disbelief. “I’m shocked and very disturbed. I’ve lost a dear friend and the industry has lost a true legend. My heart goes out to her family and friends. I feel the pain with them. Sridevi, you will be missed,” tweeted Rajinikanth, who featured with her in the memorable “ChaalBaaz”. Kamal Haasan, her co-star from “Sadma” — one of her most evocative performances — said: “Have witnessed Sridevi’s life from an adolescent teenager to the magnificent lady she became. Her stardom was well deserved. Many happy moments with her flash through my mind including the last time I met her. Sadma’s lullaby haunts me now. We’ll miss her.” Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, who has sung for Sridevi in 20 films including “Chaand Kaa Tukdaa”, “Khuda Gawah”, “Lamhe”, “Chandni”, “Nazrana” and “Himmatwala”, had no words to express her shock. “Yakeen nahi ho raha ki itni choti umar mein Sridevi chali gayi. Kya kahun kuch samajh mein nahi aa raha hai. Boney Kapoor aur unki do betiyon ke dukh mein main shamil hun. (I can’t believe that Sridevi died so early, she was too young. I don’t know what to say. Condolences to Boney Kapoor and the daughters),” she tweeted. Her “Mom” co-star Nawazuddin Siddiqui wrote: “It’s a heartbreaking news, can’t even imagine in the worst of my dreams – World losses the best performer.” Superstar Aamir Khan was “saddened by the untimely and tragic passing away of Srideviji”. He said he has “always been an admirer of the grace and dignity with which she conducted herself”. While veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt was “jolted” by the news of her sudden death, Sunny Deol, who has worked with her in films like “Sultanat”, “ChaalBaaz” and “Ram-Avtar”, said he is “going to miss her”. Showbiz queen Ekta Kapoor tweeted: “The strongest women have the weakest hearts sometimes.” Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur said “with Sridevi gone an era is over”. “Like life turning a new chapter. A beautiful story just ended. An amazing spirit just vanished leaving us with amazing love, memories, and incredible grief,” he tweeted. (IANS)]]>