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Sridevi: Timeless dream and beautiful soul belonging to forever


“Yeh lamhe yeh pal hum barson yaad karenge yeh mausam chale gaye toh hum fariyaad karenge”

 

The dock of life abruptly stopped the moment Mom announced that Sridevi-ji is no more which made me leap out of the bed without losing a single second. It felt like a jolt and was hard to digest. I still cannot fathom this black Sunday watching Indian TV channels airing milestones on her career, the live interactions replayed during seminars and watching her various performances as an actor. The condolence messages and pictures flooding on Facebook made it harder to fathom that the woman who was part of my growing up years in the 90s is no longer alive. I am still hoping that it’s a silly prank played by Twitterati or people on Facebook on this ‘hoax death’. Today, when I watched the funeral live on TV, the heart bled and cried finding it impossible to believe she is no more. An incredible part of my childhood has been wiped off.

Image source: Sridevi/http://www.cinespot.net

Growing up in the 90s was not easy for my generation and particularly for me as I turned into a crazy film buff, swearing over Bachchan mania and craze for superstar actors like Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit and to a lesser extent Juhi Chawla. I had innocent crushes over the late Divya Bharti and Sonali Bendre. Studies took a back seat and I flunked a year or two owing to my love for movies where pocket money or piggy banks were emptied to buy copies of Filmfare, Stardust and Cineblitz. I still remember going gaga about a front cover with Bachchan and Srideviji in white or spending my time indulging in magazines and newspapers cuttings. I still have them! The infatuation over Sridevi Ma’am became a precious moment of existence. What beautiful eyes and divine face speaking directly to the heart!

The decade that my generation calls the best wouldn’t be possible without the first superstar of Indian cinema Sridevi-ji who giggles with childlike innocence or behaving like a kid onscreen. Friends mocked me for drooling over Sridevi Ma’am whom they believe to be childish.  But, then, who cared? It was the 90s for us and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Sridevi-ji was among the first women who entered my life, making me dream or worship the statue, a woman closer to Goddess and seeing her in my innocent crushes. I literally worshipped her. She was not intimidating yet unreal. Why statue? More than that, the song ‘Lagi aaj Sawan’ picturized on the late Vinod Khanna and Sridevi-ji explains why I worshipped her in idol or statue form. She embodied perfection, flawless beauty, a magnet and vulnerability but also someone who we couldn’t touch. The rare trait of a heroine that Yash Chopra has tapped in an aesthetic manner and creating this illusion through sheer expression in front of the camera, an angel that nobody could possess took form.  Oh gosh! I don’t want to write about her in the past tense and will not.

Chandni was one movie that we will always associate with Sridevi-ji and it doesn’t go without saying that Mere Haathon mein nau nau choodiyan is a song where women and men still dance during weddings or her act in this song inspiring many of my female friends who took dancing both as a profession and hobby.

There is something very rare and unique in Sridevi that drew me towards her be it watching her along megastar Amitabh Bachchan in Khuda Gawah on the silver screen or the countless VHR rented in the shop to watch in our next-door neighbor’s house since we didn’t own a VHS at that time. I remember watching Chandni, Chalbaaz, Lamhe, Aakhri Raasta and Mr India countless number of times. Sridevi-ji has had such an impact on the growing years so much that many of us wanted to date or dream to fall in love with someone as fun loving as her who would dance to Hawa Hawai or Kissi Ki Haath Mein Na aayegi yeh ladki.  Only someone of her stature could pull such acts with the effortless gaze.

She always stood tall as an actor and the seamless charisma would never go unnoticed in the face of the storm called Amitabh Bachchan while superstars like Rajnikanth, Jeetendra, or Sunny Deol wouldn’t mind playing second fiddle to her. Imagine, films like Aakhri Raasta and Inquilaab that were altogether a Bachchan fest but we couldn’t think about those movies without Sridevi-ji. The spunk, irrevocable screen presence, electrifying presence and ebullience like magnet gave a bright shade which was a sharp contrast to the dark, brooding angry young man. That’s Sridevi-ji, for you who never faded in comparison.

From my personal collection of postcard.

I have a confession to make. It’s no secret that I abhor watching India television post-2000. Yet, I sat to religiously watch a soap opera during my college every day and waiting for 10 p.m to strike during 2004 or 2005. It was Malini Iyer, the sitcom the legend choose to make a comeback that showed her star power, an aura that captured the imagination of countless admirers and fans whose hearts she conquered. There was something so effortless in this electrifying persona who never tries too hard to woo hearts. Her first show abroad was the Jhooma Chooma in London where she performed with megastar Amitabh Bachchan and one could see there was no pretense unlike many. Sridevi was happy being herself and it’s one trait that makes for her versatility as an artist.

Of course, fans like me waited for her second inning as an actor after the long break post motherhood and Judai in the late 90s. I was anxious that Sridevi-ji may not be able to recreate the magic of yesteryears after a long hiatus or whether fans would identify with the characteristics or USP that defined her during the lost decade.

English Vinglish simply surprised me and was such a sheer delight which is among my favorite Sridevi’s performances. She redefined herself as an actor in the film, pushing the boundary a notch higher to make us forget for a moment the Sridevi of the 90s and giving another dimension to her stature, albeit, lending depth to the role. Sheer delight. It’s heart-breaking to see that her second innings that comprised of English Vinglish and Mom was cut abruptly short. There was no question that she would carve history but destiny can be tragic.

Who can forget her Charlie Chaplin act in Mr India? Sridevi is perhaps one of the rare actors who can make wearing garish costumes looking so believable and lending so much dignity, credence and grace like she did in Hawa Hawai. Poise and grace, Sridevi has tons in her that makes one fall in love with her every moment and she must truly be a special woman that blew Boney Kapoor mind.  She is simply extraordinary. The movies of 80s and 90s cannot be possible without her. She was the hero of her times.

A personal poster collection in 90s, Sridevi.

Sridevi is one intriguing person who has always guarded her private space and is known as someone who speaks very less on sets.  This is what makes her so real, someone who respects her privacy and professional life to the core. According to industry insiders, she is someone who is interested solely in her work. It speaks volume about her sheer professionalism.

Born Amma Yanger Ayyapan, she started her career at the age of 5 to act as a child artist in Julie and right from Solwa Sawaan to Mr India, Lamhe, Khuda Gawah and Chandni, Nagin or Chaalbaz, she remains an enigma. Sridevi is timeless and unreal. Who can forget Lamhe’s Pallavi infatuated for her Kunwar Saab or the last gut-wrenching scene in Sadma! Hearts will take a long time to heal from this Chaalbaaz act she played on us. We haven’t lost our Chandni. She stays forever in our hearts. Yes! I do love the Vinita of Aakhri Raasta crying for ice cream.

Take a bow Sridevi Ma’am. Perhaps thanks or emotions won’t suffice for you have given me unbridled joy during the growing up years filled with blissful memories. An era that stays forever and the precious childhood days of watching you shining brightly on screen. Let’s celebrate the timeless beauty and sparkle in the times of grief.

I pray for her children and husband who lost their world. In us and the celluloid magic, Srideviji remains forever alive for she has carved a special place in our hearts. Sridevi-ji, every single moment you gave is meant to be cherished. Your death was personal for we lost a family member. I personally postponed all my work and still feeling unsettled. We shall no longer see the poise, grace and elegance yet she is present among us, forever but except we cannot see.

Grateful to have been born in your era and witnessing your rise as an artist, that gave so many of us the possibility to dream, break free and be adventurous. Thanking you can’t be enough for the part you played in my life. I choose to honor you as an artist and human being. I lit a lamp and candle in front of your picture. Call me crazy if you may but it feels so peaceful to connect with such a beautiful soul. The only Pan Indian star and actor that we will ever have whose appeal has cut over states, regions and countries. Very few can claim to do that and today you united an entire nation.

 

Love you loads Sridevi-ji

V

PS: I would never imagine writing something like this on Sridevi-ji and still incredibly hard to believe she is no longer among us. The draft was written last Sunday but choose to post it after the actor’s funeral as a mark of respect to her.

Author:

Work-in-progress, seeker and bundle of contradictions. Stubborn and Refusal to grow up and constantly in search of myself, I blurt it out on my space. Drop in and share some love. Indian by choice.

28 thoughts on “Sridevi: Timeless dream and beautiful soul belonging to forever

  1. Oh Vishal my condolences to you but I’m afraid I don’t share your enthusiasm for Sridevi. I can’t understand the hoop la over her death and am amazed that she had a State Funeral and more media coverage than the death of an Indian soldier on the border …..

  2. She thoroughly deserved all the respect she was given today. In spite of being a woman, she entertained millions over the years.
    The only actor/actress I have followed for so long when he/she departed.

    A life well lived, but not worthy of such an early demise!

    1. Yes Alok Srideviji deserves all respect and perhaps more and broke the glass ceiling. So well said and extremely heart breaking to see her leave us so early. A true Pan Indian star cutting across languages. Such a rude shock and am still to recover.

    1. Srideviji is an incredible talent and sad that her second inning has cut short. A true Pan Indian superstars who didn’t restricted herself a particular region but entire India. She deserves all respect and recognition. For me, she remains a legend.

  3. We truly have lost someone immensely talented and beautiful at heart, and too soon too. I remember her exactly the way you have described here. Chalbaaz and Mr. India were one of my first movies and Chalbaaz till date remains, one of my favourites. As do Chandni, Rudali and Sadma from her. God is so unfair sometimes, and this is one of those times.

    1. It feels crazy to write about her in the past. Such a beautiful human soul who left us too soon and trust me so hard to believe Srideviji is no more. The person I remember is the one we grew up in 80s and 90s. I find it difficult to pick a favorite film and true how life can be unfair. Truly a pan India actor who shone bright in cinema made in various languages. It will take us days to recover from this Sadma.

  4. I share your emotions for Sridevi. Too much has been said about her since Sunday that, my surging emotions deemed it best to not put to words what a loss her untimely demise felt like.
    It’s been a few very difficult days for everyone who loved her.

    1. Thanks so much. It’s been so harrowing and just imagine what her closest family, the man who loved her and children been going through. There were so much lies, widespread speculations and things that I find disrespectful or disgusting. She means a lot for an entire generation and beyond that!

  5. I know the shock of it as she was taken suddenly. I have switched off watching/reading more news. And watched Chaalbaaz and English Vinglish with the kids and Lamhe again just to refresh the memories. Her loss is acute but at least we have her films. Snatched away so young.

    1. Yea and the shock hasn’t sunk in till now. A deep sense of loss and yeah I have a bone to grind with some people for disrespecting her so much be it several TV channels and few bloggers as well. Just imagine what her husband and innocent children are going through if for us life has suddenly stopped. She has been snatched away too young and will take us days to recover. I plan to watch her movies this week. Thanks Rachna. I plan to hop on your blog and since Sunday I haven’t been reading any blog or writing any, barring this one 😦

  6. As condolences and tributes poured in, I read someone say that it is once in 500 years that such beauty is made and that too with this much perfection. It is a sad end to such a talented and beautiful woman. RIP and hope the husband and the children whom she left behind find strength in making an acceptance.

    1. It was painful hearing her death in Dubai and still cannot fathom she is no longer among us. As a fan I worshipped her. She was electrifying in front the camera despite being a shy person. So true, once in a while a woman like her walks the screen, the beauty, seamless talent built to perfection. Perhaps, angels are not meant to stay forever with us. I feel for her innocent daughters and husband who loved her to no end. She lives forever.

  7. I watched three of her movies after last sunday. Lamhe, English Vinglish and Sadma.
    Can’t believe that she’s gone.

    While the media was aiming for TRPs and bloggers for pageviews and readers through the tragedy, you chose to post this after her funeral. That itself shows the love and dedication.

    The post cards are so beautiful. She really looks like a goddess in those.

    I remember watching Malini Iyer too.

    Divya Bharti had a striking resemblance to Sridevi. I was born after she passed away.

    Prayers be with Sridevi’s family and especially with her daughters.

    1. Yes and was so disgusted to see TV channels and bloggers indulging in slandering. It was disgusting and still angry. I feel it’s important to respect the memory of such a beautiful soul. I watched Nagina the other day. The postcard and posters belong to the 90s. A true Goddess I worshipped and yes Divya reseembled Srideviji a lot. Also Srideviji ji died the day Divya was born. Loved her comic timing in Malini Iyer. I feel for her young daughters.

    1. Srideviji was unreal and what dreams could be made of. I am still unsettled and it came as a rude shock. At times, I feel that it’s a joke made by people. She shall remain forever alive in our memory.

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