Waking up unusually early for a Sunday morning, I reached out for my phone, only to see a news flash reading ‘Sridevi passes away at 54′. A tingling sensation ran through my body as myriad scenes from her films flashed before my eyes, one after the other, all in a matter of seconds.
My favourite one was from her comeback film, English Vinglish. It is the scene where, strolling through the streets of New York with childlike amazement, the naïve Sashi (Sridevi) enters a coffee shop. She confronts a rude woman behind the counter. What starts off as excitement soon turns into embarrassment, as she fails to place an order in English, before running away from the chaos and humiliation.
As I revisited the scene on YouTube, I was amazed at the range of feelings that Sridevi was capable of expressing in just one scene.
Let’s also recall her brilliant portrayal of a loving but fierce mother, who avenges her daughter in Mom.
My Childhood Star
Veteran Indian actress and artist extraordinaire, Sridevi was loved and adored by all, and the news of her untimely death on Feb 24 left the nation in shock.
Sridevi will be remembered as a fine performer with those playful, expressive eyes, who was part of an oeuvre of 300 films. But for me, she was so much more. My mother bonded with her mother over her films, just as I did with my mother!
While Sadma remained an all-time favourite, I also enjoyed watching Mr India, Chaalbaaz, and Chandni, and listening to her popular songs as a child.
With her comeback in 2012, I saw for myself the phenomenon that Sridevi was, becoming a fan not just of her acting but her grace, her ageless beauty and her fashion sense.
Today as everyone celebrates the actor that she was, I wish to celebrate Sridevi, the woman.
Sridevi Stood for Girl Power
– She was one of the few actresses who was cast alongside Bollywood biggies like Sunny Deol and Rishi Kapoor in the beginning of her career. But she shone all her own, with her feisty screen presence, and did not let her sparkle be dulled by their stardom.
– She worked hard to prove her mettle as an actress, and not just a flawless beauty on screen. She experimented with a range of roles in films like Sadma, Nagina, Chaalbaaz, Chandni and Judaai.
– At the peak of her career, she decided to take a break and start a family with Boney Kapoor, embracing the controversy around their relationship with a sense of dignity.
– Despite staying away from the silver screen for over a decade, Sridevi astounded the audience and critics with her comeback film English Vinglish. Five years later, she emerged as a wonderful Mom, both on screen and off screen, leading her perfectly groomed daughters into the limelight.
Sridevi left me, and the world, asking for more. It was indeed the saddest goodbye.
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