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Bollywood actor Sridevi passed away on Saturday night after a cardiac arrest, confirmed her brother-in-law Sanjay Kapoor. She was 54. “Yes, it is true that Sridevi passed away. I just landed here, I was in Dubai and now I am flying back to Dubai. It happened roughly around 11.00-11.30. I don’t know more details yet,” Sanjay confirmed the news to Sridevi was reportedly with her husband Boney Kapoor and daughter Khushi at the time of death. They were with the entire Kapoor family in UAE to attend the wedding ceremony of Mohit Marwah. Late Sridevi Kapoor’s body will arrive in India tomorrow. Her last rites are expected to be performed on Monday.
Sridevi made her Bollywood debut as a child artist in Julie (1975). Her first adult role was at the age of 13 in Tamil film Moondru Mudichu (1976). Sridevi went on to become one of the biggest female stars India ever had. The government of India awarded her Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour, in 2013.
Her most remarkable films include Sadma, Chandni, Himmatwala, ChaalBaaz, Mr India, Nagina, Mawali, Tohfa and Gumrah among others.
After working in Judaai, she took a 15-year break from movies only to be back to winning hearts in her second innings with English Vinglish in 2012. She was last seen in 2017 film MOM.
Sridevi’s most memorable onscreen pairing was with her real-life brother-in-law Anil Kapoor, while her most successful films were produced by husband Boney Kapoor.
That propelled her into the big league. Soon enough, the King of Romance Yash Chopra took her over, and made her a Yashraj heroine, with the mandatory Swiss slopes, swooning heroes, and fifty shades of chiffon. She’d already rocked the look in the incendiary “Kaate Nahi Katate” song in Mr India: who can forget that royal blue chiffon-clad full-bodied shimmying frame? She ‘khankaoed her nau nau choodiyan’ in Chandni, and Rishi Kapoor fell hard. Then came Lamhe, a film so far ahead of its times that you still can’t believe it was made. Sridevi played a double role (she did a bunch of doubles in her career) of mother-and-daughter, dealing with a man (Anil Kapoor in one of his best performances) who has feelings for both. Gasp.That was her decade, in which she did such films as Khuda Gawaah in which starred with Amitabh Bachchan (when we see a draped-in-a-shawl Bachchan drop by for a walk-on part, years later, in her 2012 English Vinglish, it is a moment), and Chaalbaaz in which she memorably made whoopee with Sunny Deol and her constant co-star Rajinikanth. Except for Madhuri Dixit (with whom she is erroneously compared because Sridevi was already a top-flight star in the South when she crossed over into Bollywood, where she had come to expand her horizons, instead of a hopeful newcomer like Dixit), she had no real rival, and we went to see her do her thing in film after film: she pulled faces, rolled her eyes, pouted madly, and spouted dialogues in her thin, breathless voice, but that was the way she rolled, and her fans couldn’t get enough. Even those of us who loved her not quite so indiscriminately knew that we were in the midst of a great comedienne who could do rollicking physical comedy and over-wrought emotion, as well as underplay beautifully, when she was given a chance.
That could be an apt epitaph for Sridevi, unforgettable leading lady, and Bollywood’s first female superstar, a marquee name which could open films on her own. With her daughter Jahnvi debuting in a Karan Johar film, she would have become a star-mom, too. If she had lived to see it. But for our generation of movie-lovers, Sridevi was, and will always be, pure electricity, bonafide ‘bijli’, who, at her best, lit up the screen.
May her soul rest in peace
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