On the morning of 25th February, not only the film industry of the country but also the movie lovers, fans and filmmakers the world over, got the shock of their life as news of India’s first female superstar Sridevi’s untimely demise spread like wild fire.
At first everyone went into disbelief and believed it to be a rumour, as the recent death hoaxes of many film celebrities. everyone prayed it to be untrue as all other hoaxes, but this time, death had its own plan. At 54, Sridevi had tragically passed away in Dubai, after suffering from a cardiac arrest. The actress was in Dubai, along with her husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi, to attend a family wedding.
A pioneering woman in Indian cinema who riveted audiences for nearly five decades, lost her life at a distant place from her motherland. Crowds gathered outside Sridevi’s Mumbai home as tributes poured in from politicians, sportspeople, film colleagues and fans for the actor fondly remembered as Chandani.
A versatile performer, who became one of the first women to dominate Indian cinema from the 1970s, Sridevi was celebrated for her ability to bring nuance and depth to her roles.
She made her debut half a century ago as a child actor in the Tamil film industry, winning her first lead role in Bollywood in 1979’s Solva Sawan.
Sridevi had an illustrious career spanning over four decades.She began her career in films at age 4 in the Tamil film Thunaivan and continued to act throughout her childhood in South Indian films. She even made her Bollywood debut as a child artist in the hit Julie (1975). Sridevi made her Bollywood debut as a heroine in the 1978 film Solva Sawan, but she truly found her feet as a star in the Jeetendra-starrer Himmatwala (1983). Her powerful screen presence and acting prowess soon made her one of the most sought-after artistes in the Hindi film industry. While films like Mawaali (1983), Tohfa (1984), Mr India (1987) and Chandni (1989) kept her at the top in the box-office game, movies like Sadma (1983), ChaalBaaz (1989), Lamhe (1991), and Gumrah (1993) earned her critical acclaim. She went on a hiatus for 15 years — during which she had two daughters — after starring in Judaai. Sridevi made a comeback in Gauri Shinde’s English Vinglish in 2012 in a nuanced performance that charmed critics as well as the box-office. She followed it up with the Tamil film Puli in 2015 and the Hindi film Mom in 2017. She shot for a special appearance in superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming film Zero, which releases
She acted in films across India’s cinema industries, also appearing in Hindi, Malayalam and Telugu films and in performances alongside leading men such as Kamal Haasan, Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth. She loomed so large in 1987’s sci-fi flick Mr India that critics joked the film should have been called Miss India.
Born Shree Amma Yanger Ayappan in Tamil Nadu state, Sridevi appeared regularly in roles from the age of four until 31, when she took a break from films after marrying producer Boney Kapoor, of one of country’s most prestigious acting dynasties. She made a successful return to the big screen in Gauri Shinde’s English Vinglish (2012), playing a housewife taking English-language lessons. Her last and 300th screen appearance was in Mom (2017) where she played a mother avenging her daughter’s rape.
In 2013 Sridevi was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian honours, for her decades of service to the film industry.
Sridevi, the doyenne of Indian cinema was a super mom, who fiercely protected her children. She dreamt to see her daughter Janhvi create a space for herself in Bollywood, an industry, which she had ruled as an undisputed queen for years. The actress confessed in an interview with Bombay Times, “Stardom has never been easy and even going ahead it won’t be. If Janhvi has made this choice, I have to be there for her.” Sadly, there are some choices that are not for us to make, and death is one of them. Sridevi, wherever you are, we know that you will light up the skies with the brilliance of a thousand stars. For us, you will always be the Chandni of Indian cinema.