Sridevi died Saturday night after suffering a cardiac arrest; she was 54.
Sridevi died Saturday night after suffering a cardiac arrest; she was 54.

Sridevi no more, and a part of my childhood dies with her

Sridevi died on Saturday night after suffering a cardiac arrest at the age of 54. Called the first female superstar in India's male-dominated film industry, she made over 260 films in a career spanning 45 years.
By Jyoti Sharma Bawa, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2018 09:26 AM IST

As a starry eyed schoolchild, I would spend hours trying to get the steps of Morni Baagan Maan right, in front of the mirror. As a girl, not even 7, I was too young to understand the complexity of the lyrics or the depth of the feeling that the Lamhe song held within it, but it was she, Sridevi, her fluid dance moves and the play of emotion in her face that had me entranced. I would try to turn just like Sridevi, get her hand mudras right. Again, it would take me years to understand there was nobody like Sridevi. The twinkle in her eye, the charm she could switch on as cameras turned towards her or the movie star charisma that was part of her personality — Sridevi lived what her Mr India song said, Bijli Girane Main Hoo Aayi.

My experiments in front of the mirror were not extraordinary, nor were they one of a kind. Lakhs of children across India were trying to emulate Sridevi — for some (like me) it was her dance, for others it was the fact that she was a superstar when women rarely had the word super attached to them in any form in the industry. And for almost everybody, it was her ability to light up the frames she inhabited.

Sridevi as a child actor in Thunaivan.
Sridevi as a child actor in Thunaivan.

My romance with Sridevi began long before I understood how to tell good films from bad; at that age I either loved them or hated them. So, when, early on a Sunday morning, as I got up to incessant messages, tweets and Facebook posts full of grief, I went back to my childhood. It was a child again who was mourning the loss of her star.

Indeed, Sridevi’s death has taken away something crucial with it — a part of my childhood. Whether it was her act as a child-woman in Sadma, the luminous double role in Lamhe, the quintessential Yash Chopra heroine in Chandni or the bubbly Hawa Hawai of Mr India, Sridevi managed to bring a certain je na sais quoi to every role she played.

Sridevi as the quintessential Yash Raj heroine in Chandni.
Sridevi as the quintessential Yash Raj heroine in Chandni.

Among the yellowing photographs and fading memories is a photo of me with my friends with a fruit hat a la Sridevi in Hawa Hawai. Maybe it was a day during summer vacation when time hung heavy on our hands. But I remember how disastrous the first attempt with a straw hat and a bowl of fruit was. We were rescued when the friend’s mother emerged and gave us a tongue lashing that only mothers are capable of. Then, being a Sridevi fan (who isn’t?), she helped us fashion the hat.

Then came Madhuri Dixit, and the gaggle of girls divided into Team Madhuri and Team Sridevi. I was a staunch member of the latter and many a evening, we would spend in fraught debates on who was better. Sridevi had been around for decades. Starting as a child artiste at the age of 4, she had worked in Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films before she decided to shift her focus to Bollywood. She was a star here as well. Madhuri, IMHO, was a novice.

For every Lamhe, Sridevi also did duds like Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja but managed to bring a certain charm to it.
For every Lamhe, Sridevi also did duds like Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja but managed to bring a certain charm to it.

There were chinks in her career but it was still 90s Bollywood and actresses — even the one called the first female superstar of Bollywood — had to take the good with the bad. The pulpy papers of those times were full of how the leading actors of those days would cower before her. They may or may not have been true but they fuelled my imagination as a fan.

She definitely left a stamp on my career. I believe that years of defending her against Madhuri fans (you know who you are) made me pick up the job of an entertainment reporter. I came across her on many occasions in my career and always found her a picture of grace and poise, standing out in the sea of beauty that is Hindi cinema.

And today, she is gone, in a moment that appears was written by an unfeeling screenwriter. Or maybe, it is the fan inside me who is not ready to say goodbye. Oh, what it would be to watch her once again in a dark theatre with the lights dimmed.

Sridevi made 264 films over 45 years, and while not all of them will stand the test of the time, her charisma will. I would remember her as the effervescent Chandni, the middle class mother in English Vinglish but mostly as Hawa Hawai — who wore fruit hats and solved crimes as an intrepid journalist.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Remo D'Souza and Aamir Ali go for a spin.
Remo D'Souza and Aamir Ali go for a spin.

Remo D'Souza goes for a spin with Aamir Ali after heart attack scare, watch

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 06:21 PM IST
  • Remo D'Souza, who recently had a health scare, was spotted out and about town with friend Aamir Ali. Watch a video here.
Close
Taapsee Pannu will be seen in as many as six films this year.
Taapsee Pannu will be seen in as many as six films this year.

Taapsee Pannu says it's 'tedious' to find male stars to do female-led films

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 05:47 PM IST
  • Citing the examples of Deepika Padukone, Kangana Rananut and Alia Bhatt, Taapsee Pannu has said that it is 'tedious' to find male stars to do female-led films.
Close
Mira Rajput poses in her beachy outfit.
Mira Rajput poses in her beachy outfit.

Mira Rajput is beach-ready in new pics from Goa, but where is Shahid Kapoor?

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 04:50 PM IST
  • Mira Rapjut has shared new photos and videos from her Goa vacation with husband, actor Shahid Kapoor. Check them out here.
Close
Kangana Ranaut shared a video of Jiah Khan's sister levelling allegations of sexual harassment against Sajid Khan.
Kangana Ranaut shared a video of Jiah Khan's sister levelling allegations of sexual harassment against Sajid Khan.

Kangana shares clip of allegations against Sajid, hints he has ‘mafia' support

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 04:44 PM IST
  • Kangana Ranaut shared a video of Jiah Khan's sister levelling serious allegations of sexual harassment against Sajid Khan. She suggested that he has the 'full support' of the 'mafia' in the film industry.
Close
Minissha Lamba announced her separation from Ryan Tham last year.
Minissha Lamba announced her separation from Ryan Tham last year.

Minissha Lamba opens up about her separation: 'If it's not working, part ways'

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 04:17 PM IST
  • Actor Minissha Lamba has said that there is no longer any stigma attached to separation, and if a relationship isn't working, it is advisable to part ways amicably.
Close
Shah Rukh Khan with Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta.
Shah Rukh Khan with Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta.

Shah Rukh Khan jokingly objects to KKR’s birthday wish for Juhi Chawla’s husband

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 04:09 PM IST
  • Shah Rukh Khan jokingly took offence as the official Twitter handle of Kolkata Knight Riders declared Juhi Chawla’s husband Jay Mehta as the 'most affable gentleman'.
Close
Sonam Kapoor on the sets of Blind.
Sonam Kapoor on the sets of Blind.

Sonam Kapoor is having a blast on set, dad Anil Kapoor feels he's missing out

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 02:31 PM IST
  • Actor Sonam Kapoor has shared a new image from the Glasgow sets of her upcoming film, Blind. Her dad, Anil Kapoor, left a comment on her post.
Close
Priyanka Chopra was in splits as Rajkummar Rao went on to interview her over dinner.
Priyanka Chopra was in splits as Rajkummar Rao went on to interview her over dinner.

Priyanka Chopra confesses her love for Albela Aam, Chulbuli Imli and Pan Pasand

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 01:37 PM IST
Rajkummar Rao has shared a glimpse of how he interviewed his The White Tiger co-star Priyanka Chopra over dinner.
Close
Kangana Ranaut has shared a new poster of her film, Dhaakad.
Kangana Ranaut has shared a new poster of her film, Dhaakad.

Kangana Ranaut goes on a rampage in new Dhaakad poster, reveals release date

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 12:41 PM IST
Kangana Ranaut has shared a new poster of her film, Dhaakad. It also stars Arjun Rampal and Divya Dutta and would release on October 1 this year.
Close
Sana Khan married Anas Saiyad in November last year.
Sana Khan married Anas Saiyad in November last year.

Sana Khan thanks husband Anas Saiyad for always pushing her 'towards good'

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 12:24 PM IST
In her latest Instagram post, Sana Khan appreciated her husband Anas Saiyad for always encouraging her to stay on the path of good.
Close
Natasa Stankovic has shared photos featuring father-in-law Himanshu who passed away on Saturday.
Natasa Stankovic has shared photos featuring father-in-law Himanshu who passed away on Saturday.

Hardik Pandya’s father dies, Natasa Stankovic pays tribute: ‘Love you papa’

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 12:20 PM IST
  • Natasa Stankovic has paid a heartfelt tribute to Hardik Pandya’s father who died on Saturday after suffering a heart attack.
Close
Disha Patani shared a video of herself dancing to Tiger Shroff's Casanova.
Disha Patani shared a video of herself dancing to Tiger Shroff's Casanova.

Disha Patani celebrates Tiger Shroff’s new song Casanova, dances to it

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 11:12 AM IST
  • Disha Patani took to Instagram stories to share a video of herself dancing to rumoured boyfriend Tiger Shroff's new track, Casanova.
Close
Saba Ali Khan has shared pictures from her family album.
Saba Ali Khan has shared pictures from her family album.

Saba Ali Khan shares gems from family album with Sharmila Tagore, Kareena Kapoor

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 11:06 AM IST
Saba Ali Khan has shared several precious pictures from her family album, including one from her parents Sharmila Tagore and Mansur Ali Khan's wedding.
Close
Soni Razdan feels Rhea Chakraborty's time in jail has not ruined her chance of having a successful career in films.
Soni Razdan feels Rhea Chakraborty's time in jail has not ruined her chance of having a successful career in films.

Soni Razdan calls Rhea Chakraborty ‘innocent victim of a very twisted design’

UPDATED ON JAN 18, 2021 10:27 AM IST
  • Soni Razdan feels that Rhea Chakraborty has a bright future ahead of her in the film industry. Soni said that her time in jail 'clearly exposed the people who sent her there'.
Close
Liger first look: Vijay Deverakonda is a crossbreed between tiger and lion, as the title suggests.
Liger first look: Vijay Deverakonda is a crossbreed between tiger and lion, as the title suggests.

Liger first look: Vijay Deverakonda a cross between a tiger, lion in fiery still

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 10:16 AM IST
Liger first look: Vijay Deverakonda and Ananya Panday's film has dropped its first poster and it plays as a 'crossbreed' between a lion and a tiger.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP