Melwin Joy
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Melwin Joy

All stories by: Melwin Joy
Sridevi – An Untimely demise for a legacy

Sridevi was one of the strongest actors of Indian cinema, a role model to many actors in the domain irrespective of the language. She had starred in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam and Kannada films. Regarded as Indian cinema’s biggest female superstar, she won six Filmfare Awards: three for Hindi films, two for Tamil films and one for Telugu films, during her film career.

Sridevi was ranked amongst the highest-paid actors in the 1980s and 1990s and is still considered to be one of the most popular actresses of Indian cinema despite her untimely demise at the age of 54.

She was considered one of the very few Indian female superstars capable of huge box-office success without the support of a male hero.

Born in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu as Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan, she became a performer when she was only 4 years of age. Sridevi made her debut in the movies as a child artist in M.A. Thirumugham’s film Thunaivan and thereon, faced the camera several times for various Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada films. She even appeared as a child artist in 1975’s Hindi film Julie.

After working for a few years as a child actor, Sridevi made her debut as a grown up when she was 13 in the film Moondru Mudichu. In this 1976 film, she worked alongside Rajinikanth and played his stepmother. Following this role, Sridevi acted in films like 16 Vayathinile (1977), Sigappu Rojakkal (1978), Varumayin Niram Sivappu (1980), Moondram Pirai (1982) and thus gained a prominent spot in Tamil and Telugu films.

In the meanwhile, with Solva Sawan (1978), Sridevi made her debut in Hindi films. She continued to work in the south after her Hindi film debut as well. After Moondram Pirai was remade in Hindi as Sadma, Sridevi was re-introduced to Hindi cinema.

Through the 80s, she did many films in Bollywood and cemented her position as the top actress of the time. Himmatwala (1983), Tohfa (1984), Nagina (1986), Aulad (1987), Mr India (1987) among many others established Sridevi as the top icon of the time.

Her choice of characters in films was varied and this gave the audience a chance to see her in all avatars. She earned critical acclaim for her performances in any film industry she was in.

In 2013, the Government of India awarded Sridevi the Padma Shri, the countries fourth highest civilian accolade for her contributions to the entertainment industry. Honorary awards were also conferred on her by the state governments of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

Sridevi was also voted ‘India’s Greatest Actress in 100 Years’ in a CNN-IBN national poll conducted in 2013 on the occasion of the centenary of Indian cinema. She was married to the film producer Boney Kapoor, with whom she had two children –Janhvi and Khushi Kapoor.

Movies

Sridevi’s acting career started in Tamil films as a child artist in the films Thunaivan. She made her debut as an adult in the late 1970s. Regarded as one of the finest actresses in India, her performances in films in a variety of genres have earned her praise and awards. She left the industry in 1997 to raise her children. Her comeback was with English Vinglish in 2012. In total, she has done 300 films in her lifetime of acting in various Indian languages.

Over the years, Sridevi has given some noted performances. Films like Chandni (1989), Chaalbaaz (1989), Lamhe (1991), Khuda Gawah (1992), Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1993) among many others, Sridevi continued to retain her number one spot.

Her skills as a performer were highly appreciated. Be it a serious role of a mother or a playful role of a street-smart girl, Sridevi was acing at everything. Not just acting, Sridevi was well known for her dancing skills as well. As a poised dancer, Sridevi’s dance numbers were enough to pull the audience into the theatres.

After the release of her 1997 film Judaai, Sridevi took a break from Hindi films. She planned to make a comeback with 2002’s Shakti but it was at this time that she got pregnant with her second child. The role was physically exhausting and hence Sridevi chose to step back. She eventually made a comeback with Gauri Shinde’s English Vinglish. The two had been hinting at announcing another film together but sadly, that day never came.

Sridevi was next seen in 2017’s Mom where she played a mother who wants to avenge her daughter’s rapists. Her performance was applauded and the audience wished they could see more films by this noted actor. Her last film appearance will be in Aanand L Rai’s Zero where she has done a cameo with Shah Rukh Khan.

Songs

Versatile actress and Padma Shri awardee Sridevi had an illustrious career spanning over four decades in the film industry. She began acting at the age of 4 and set out on a journey that turned into a legacy.

With eyes that could speak volumes, a smile that could light up an entire room, remarkable talent and unparalleled dance moves, Sridevi gave us some memorable movies with her knockout performances. Sridevi was an acclaimed dancer and the audience got to see her perform in some of the most popular chartbusters of the day.

With expressions that would make one gush and inimitable dance moves, Sridevi was an absolute delight on screen. Sridevi is that brilliant actress, who popularised the role of the shape-shifting snake in Bollywood movies. With her unmatched dance moves and unparalleled charm, she could pump life into any character.

Sridevi is one actress, who always delivered on the promise of a ‘paisa vasool’ trip to the cinema. Not many could transmit the joy and technique of dancing like her. In ‘Chudiyaan khanak gayeein’ from ‘Lamhe’, Sridevi is seen clad in a dual tone lehenga-choli, dancing amid the sand dunes of Rajasthan to folk beats. She brings a bounce and spontaneity to her graceful dance routine. The actress retains the lively side of her personality when she appears onscreen.

The Fashion Icon

The 54-year-old veteran was not just a legendary actor but also an accomplished dancer and an even enviable fashionista. Besides being hailed as the first female superstar of Bollywood, after making a solid comeback with English Vinglish, we have seen the timeless beauty evolve into a modern-day fashionista, showing us time and again that age is just a number and giving the current crop of actors a run for their money.

The actor, who was particularly fond of ethnic wear, chose to don some of the most sought-after designers like Manish Malhotra (who was also her favourite), Sabyasachi and Falguni and Shane Peacock. Days before her sudden demise, we saw her clad in a lovely red-salmon organza sari from Malhotra and some beautiful white ethnic numbers from the same, while attending Marwah’s wedding in Dubai.

The 54-year-old was not just experimental with colours but also tried her hand at different fabrics. This doe-eyed beauty liked to go all-out when it came to her festive attire. From her perfectly-draped designer sarees to her show-stopping sequin jumpsuits, the stylish actor’s immaculate appearance was as iconic as her acting prowess.

Never less than dressed to the nines, pictures abound of red carpet sightings adorned in sequined anarkalis and twirling about with finesse like a style goddess, Sridevi culled a distinct, expertly-tailored, tremendously alluring, timeless look. Unsurprisingly, the seemingly ageless actor has been the muse of many a top couture designer, including Manish Malhotra. Sridevi went with the designer time and time again for outfits that allowed her to hold the spotlight.

Upstaging actors half her age with incomparable flair, the 1963-born Sridevi, who acted in more than 300 films in over 45 years, created an enduring fashion legacy during her time in the spotlight. She grew from a Hawa Hawai in eccentric costumes and her trademark permed hair in Mr India into an actor who made praiseworthy fashion choices until the day she died, attending a family wedding in Dubai.

Unlike her earliest days in the public eye back in the ’80s, Sridevi awed audiences with her dynamic, vivid fashion sense and her dizzying array of looks.

Sridevi as a lead actor had a sparkle, which was simply magnetic and in the end, that which transcended her attire, attitude, acting and the life she led; leaving behind a true legacy for the upcoming generations.

Melwin Joy
AUTHOR

Melwin Joy

All stories by: Melwin Joy