Sridevi's life and times: A look back on her birth anniversary

Sridevi's life and times: A look back on her birth anniversary
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Indian actress Sridevi would have celebrated her 57th birthday today on August 13. Had she been alive, the iconic star, who died in February 2018 in Dubai due to accidental drowning in a bath tub, would have been basking in pride as her daughter, actress Janhvi Kapoor, makes strides in her career with a lead role in ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’, out on Netflix now. Even though the self-made, enigmatic star has passed on, there’s no denying the power of her timeless blockbusters and the extraordinary life she led. As a nod to her birthday today, here’s Gulf News looking back at her career, her dazzling films and her rich legacy… Image Credit: PTI
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Sridevi acted in over 300 movies and she won the first Indian National Award of her career posthumously for the film ‘Mom’. In the movie, which was the last release of her career, she played a vengeful step-mother who sets out to punish her step-daughter’s rapists. During the National Award presentation ceremony, her daughter Janhvi carried a piece of her mother with her by wearing one of her mother’s silk saris to the function. Image Credit: AP
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Her popularity and appeal hasn’t dimmed even after two years since her tragic death. Her producer husband Boney Kapoor even unveiled his late wife’s wax figure at Madame Tussauds in Singapore on September 4 last year and felt that it would serve as a “reminder of the legacy she leaves behind”. “She was my wife and I love her and loved her beyond imagination but I also respected her art, the passion and dedication with which she committed herself to her work,” said Boney Kapoor in an earlier interview with Gulf News over the phone. At that time of the phone call, Kapoor couldn’t hold back tears and had to take a break from the call as memories of his wife flooded him. Image Credit: Instagram
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Sridevi wasn’t around to watch her elder daughter Janhvi Kapoor make her Bollywood debut with ‘Dhadak’, but her daughter makes it a point to always pay homage to her mother. She bears a striking resemblance to her mum and is aware that a cross-section of Bollywood movie fans have a certain kind of goodwill towards her because of her mother’s illustrious work in cinema. “I remember while I was filming thinking that I need to act like her. She has got so much love, respect and admiration from so many people. I have so much gratitude for that and I know that she did too. I want to make them [her fans and well-wishers] happy and proud as much as I want to make her proud. The validation that I looked from her, I would now be looking from them,” said Janhvi during an earlier interview with Gulf News. Image Credit: Supplied
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Sridevi had a blazing career in Bollywood and in South India. But what struck this journalist most was that the icon — who acted in dozens of top-grossers like ‘Chandini’, ‘Mr India’ and ‘Naagin’ — loved being a mother to her two daughters. In an earlier interview with Gulf News as she promoted the movie ‘Mom’, she spoke about how she loved living the simple life. “I am a simple, ordinary mother. I am after their lives all the time, making their lives miserable saying eat, eat, eat and sleep, sleep, sleep... But there’s one dialogue [in ‘Mom’] which says our job as a parent is not to make them understand, but to understand them. This is very poignant and important, that it is not necessary to give them lectures. I apply that to my life too,” said Sridevi in one of her last conversations with Gulf News. Image Credit: IANS
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While she was a hands-on mother, she was also supremely confident and versatile in front of the camera. Millions idolised her dancing skills and her love for physical comedy. In films like ‘Chaal Baaz’ in which she played a double role, her comic timing was impeccable. Her scenes with Rajinikanth, who played a goofy alcoholic cab driver, are pure comic gold. Image Credit: IANS
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While it is impossible to list out all her 300 films, one of the best ways to pay it forward to her memory would be to re-visit her classics. The romantic drama ‘Chandini’ in which she played the titular role as a feisty woman who goes through soul-stirring heart-break is still enjoyable. The songs in which she croons with late actor Rishi Kapoor in a yellow sari still has the power to draw you into her escapist love stories. Image Credit:
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But if you are looking for something more recent there’s always Sridevi’s ‘English Vinglish’ in which she played a submissive housewife who quickly learns that mastering English is a way to attain dignity with her husband. She enrols for a course to study spoken English while on a visit to the United States and that stirring drama of a woman finding herself resonated with millions of her fans. Image Credit:
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But if you are in the mood for something more poignant, make sure to re-visit her timeless romance ‘Lamhe’. Her chemistry with Anil Kapoor is spot on and the movie explored an unconventional terrain in Hindi cinema where a young girl [Sri Devi] falls in love with a much-older man. Played efficiently by Kapoor, the romance became more murky because he used to be in love with her mother, making the relationship almost sacrilegious in his eyes. The inner turmoil of falling in love with a wide age-gap, now normalised, was explored with great tenderness in ‘Lamhe’. Image Credit:
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If romantic dramas of Sridevi doesn’t rock your boat, then indulge in a bit of Bollywood fantasy with ‘Nagina’, the film in which Sridevi played a shape-shifting snake. Her transformation from a dazzling woman to a serpent is a sight to behold. Image Credit: Supplied
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While the fans still seek closure even two years after Sridevi’s death, the only way to celebrate her legacy and lives is through her cinematic gems. While she may not be among us to celebrate her birth, her films will always be enjoyed. Image Credit: