SRIDEVI - 50 Years of Living the Cinematic Dream

Arre, maine kuch achieve nahi kiya (I haven’t achieved anything)... There’s a long way to go. I feel my career has just started. Haan... let me tell you that,” said Sridevi, laughing, in an interview with IANS in 2017.

Sridevi’s lilting laughter – much like her screen presence, beauty, grace, and unmatchable talent – lingers on. The actress, who spent 50 of her 54 years of life living the cinematic dream, said,

“I feel like a newcomer. I feel that my career is going to start now. It’s not finished, it’s going to start now,” she asserted, dismissing any desire to treat her fans to an autobiography replete with stories from her glorious life – starting as a child actor at four to superstardom in India.

Born in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu on August 13, 1963, Sridevi began her career at the age of four in the devotional film Thunaivan. That marked the beginning of a journey in filmdom that saw her work across Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, and Hindi productions, leading her to become one of the most formidable actresses of the 1980s and 1990s in Bollywood – in fact, the only female superstar the industry has seen.

Sridevi grew up to be known for not just her ability to slip into a myriad roles – whether the double role in ChaalBaaz, as a woman with retrograde amnesia in Sadma, a shape-shifting woman in Nagina, a goofy crime journalist in Mr. India, the warm mother act in English Vinglish or the fierce and revengeful mother in Mom – but also for her expressive eyes, sheer comic timing, and her fluid dancing skills, all of which made her a director’s delight.

‘Hawaa Hawai’, ‘Main Teri Dushman’, ‘Morni’, ‘Na Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Ha’, ‘Mere Haathon Mein’ are some of the iconic and classic dance numbers which gave cinema fans a chance to see the dancing talent of Sridevi.

In 2013, the government feted her with the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth-highest civilian award. Her work was widely lauded with a slew of other richly-deserved honours.

Sridevi, who over the years became quite a fashion icon – sometimes giving tough competition to her daughters – commanded popularity like few others.

The 2012 film English Vinglish marked her return to films 15 years after the 1997 movie Judaai. And what a comeback it was – playing the role of a traditional Indian housewife’s struggle with the English language in the US, she was simply outstanding.

Amother of two daughters, Janhvi and Khushi, whom she had with husband Boney Kapoor, Sridevi was as doting as a mom could get. She was excited for Janhvi’s upcoming debut Dhadak, which is just months away from its release.

In an interview to IANS, Sridevi had called her daughters sensible kids who never gave her a chance to be strict with them. In fact, she had also said that like any other parent, she was always “worried when they would go out”, but added, “Luckily, they know their limits and they are very responsible children. When you have responsible children, half the battle is over. So, you don’t have to worry. But you are concerned. The concern will never go, and you’ll always be conscious about them.”

Confident of the upbringing she gave her daughters, Sridevi said, “Janhvi has chosen this path and profession, and I have been in this industry for long. So I am mentally more prepared than her. She has been watching me, and knows what she is getting into.

“Nothing is going to be a cakewalk in any profession. So you have to work hard, and there will be challenges. I’m sure she is ready for it.”

And to cite the unpredictability of life, who knew Sridevi wouldn’t be there to see her daughter take baby steps into a world where she was the uncrowned queen for so many years. – IANS