Bollywood and legions of fans initially reacted with shock and then with grief to the news of legendary actress Sridevi’s passing.
The actress, who was 54, died of a cardiac arrest in Dubai late on Saturday, 24 February, where she was to attend her nephew Mohit Marwah’s wedding.
Considered by many as the first female superstar of Hindi cinema, Sridevi was an actor-par-excellence whose versatility remains unmatched. From comedies to romance to tragedies, Sridevi did it all with élan.
Starting as a child artiste in late 1970s in Tamil cinema, Sridevi ruled as the top female star of the 80s to the early 90s starring opposite the leading actors of the era, including Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth.
According to reports, the actor was accompanied by her husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi.
The news of her death was confirmed by Sridevi’s brother-in-law and actor Sanjay Kapoor who left for Dubai after learning of Sridevi’s tragic demise.
Sanjay, however, could not reveal more details as he was on his way to Dubai.
A versatile actor, Sridevi made her Bollywood debut in 1978 with “Solva Sawan”.
But it was only after five years with Jeetendra-starrer “Himmatwala” that she gained commercial success. Her beguiling eyes, scintillating 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, her outings like “Sadma” (1983), “ChaalBaaz” (1989), “Lamhe” (1991), and “Gumrah” (1993) earned her critical acclaim.
She went on a hiatus for 15 years after starring in home production – “Judaai” – co-starring her brother-in-law Anil Kapoor and Urmila Matondkar. It was director Gauri Shinde’s “English Vinglish” in 2012 that marked Sridevi’s comeback.
Her nuanced performance as a middle-class woman, learning to speak English to feel accepted by her family, won accolades, and the film was also a commercial success.
Last year, she was seen in revenge-drama – “Mom” – opposite Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Akshaye Khanna. She shot for a special appearance in superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming film – “Zero” – which releases in December.
Before she made her entry into Bollywood, she had left a mark in South Indian films. She marked her entry into the world of cinema with Tamil film “Thunaivan” in 1969. She also worked in Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada films.
Besides Boney and Khushi, she is survived by older daughter Janhvi Kapoor, who is currently working towards making her entry into the Hindi cinema. Sridevi was step-mother to actor Arjun Kapoor and his sister Anshula, who Boney had from late first wife Mona.
Condolences poured in from across the country. Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Malayalam legend Mohanlal and nearly every Bollywood celebrity posted tweets expressing their grief.
Here are her seven best performances:
Sadma- Released in 1983, the film brings out the story of a girl traumatised by an accident and starts behaving like a child. Sridevi delivered an amazing performance in both the Hindi remake and the Tamil original Moondram Pirai.
Nagina- All we remember from the revenge story is the snake woman played by Sridevi. The very famous song ‘Main Teri Dushman’ that was picturised on Sridevi made the film what it is.
Mr. India- No one can ever forget the performance of Anil Kapoor and Sridevi in this iconic film. The actress playing a journalist with her outstanding comic timing is incredible.
Chandni- This film came as a turning point in Sridevi’s career. The impeccable performance of the actress in the romantic drama won our hearts.
Chalbaaz- We saw the powerhouse actress in a double role. The actress brought all the fun on the screen and made us laugh.
Lamhe- A coming of the age film where Sridevi plays the character of a girl who falls in love with an older man, the lover of her late mother. Starring Anil Kapoor and Sridevi, Lamhe became one of the most memorable films by the actress.
English Vinglish- Finally, her comeback on the silver screen came with this movie. Though she had no need to prove her craft, this film brought out a different side of the actress.