Sridevi completes her “Golden Jubilee” in the Film Industry this year but the magic her name spells has not faded for us. The “Diva” rules our hearts today in 2017, and not a single fan misses to read through the film magazines just in-case there is a project she might, just, bestow with her presence. This Empress of Screen began her journey as a child artist before she went on to play some of the finest roles ever played by any female actor in India. She started very young & played some exemplary roles down South before her march began in Bollywood. Sridevi is the only “Leading Lady” after Hema Malini who reigned at no. 1 position for more than a decade. She conquered Bollywood, and she gave Indian Cinema, a standard, when it came to “Female” power on 70mm.
Her stature was such that the biggest of names like Rekha, Jaya Prada, Meenakshi Seshadri & Madhuri never rose above the no. 2 position. Recently she made a comeback with English Vinglish only to declare that there is none other than her who can portray any exceptional character, better. Her power over her fans prevails even after her face isn’t similar any-longer. Well it’s her personal choice & a true fans shows respect! Her controversial relationships with Mithun & eventual/sudden Marriage with Boney Kapoor & the tag of the “other woman”, her battle in court after her mother’s unfortunate death, her strained relation with her sister & her experiments with facial uplifts…. We have seen all.
There is hardly a single reason for us “fans” to choose not to be her devotees. I still look for any news of a project she might have just accepted………. Her comebacks are awaited. Being a die hard Meenakshi fan , I once wrote to her in my letter that I do not like Sridevi, to which she replied, “Pooja, there is no one like her when it comes to hardwork!”. And that’s when I began to pay attention to her work. I was always a hard-core “Rajni” fan but after I saw “Chaalbaaz” it was Sri who won my heart. I saw it so many times only to accept that I carried her “seductress” charms in my mind, from “Kaate Nahi Katt tte yeh din” , as silent appreciation even after denying her the position she held. It was a hidden hangover which made me re-visit her legend in “Mr. India”. I declared to myself that there was none other than her who could have brought even 10% of sensuality with ease, to that song. And my love-affair with her on screen began.
Sridevi gave earthern “Indian” tadkas to her roles. She played sister to “Julie”, began another innings with “Solva Saavan (79), before setting a new era of “Jeetu/Sri” with “Himmatwala (83), Justice Chaudhary (83), & some 20 films she did with him. The pots & the oranges rolling down the hills, the trademark choreography in “White”..movies full of melodrama, was what we saw in the 80s. She is the only one who had the guts to refuse an “AB” starrer…. she eventually did “Inquilab”, “Aakhri Raasta” & “Khuda Gawah” with him.
But it’s her pairing with Anil Kapoor that brought a kind of a revolution as far as the chemistry within the lead pair is spoken about. What began with “Mr. India” till “Lamhe” is un-matchable till-date. Though Rekha dubbed initially for her, suddenly her squeaky voice was adorable for all. She was a “Naagin” as well, and no-one has ever danced like Sridevi on screen till 2017. No-one! Ask the likes of Saroj Khan and you will not get another name. She danced with “Elaan” “Josh” “Masti” & “Sensuality”. She played pranks with her facial expressions, she danced CLASSSIC.
“Thunder Thighs” was what we named her, “Sexy Siren” was a title she accomplished. From 75kgs- 57kgs is what she achieved for “Chaandni”… an un-matched performance, a role which defines Romance & Yash Chopra. I won’t say more on this bcz it’s like defining the legacy of an Empress.
Her downfall began after “Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja” but she was smart enough to accept roles with youngsters like Sanjay, Salman, Akshay & SRK (Army)… but she failed, with only “Gumraah” working at the box-office. Then her legal battle began, after her mother passed away due to a wrongful brain surgery which ended up with her proximity with Boney Kapoor. She married him secretly & “Judaai” released in 1997. She accepted motherhood to Jaanhavi & Khushi.. did a silly show for t.v “Hamari Bahu Malini Iyer” (2004).
Janhavi is well groomed today to set her feet in Bollywood. And I can’t await “MOM”, Sridevi’s next feature. It might be “50”, but it can never be an end for her……….it’s what every fan of hers believes in.
We still await that appointment with the theatre where they play that role, which is written only for her, for only Sridevi can do justice to some of them.
A happy 50th to you “Sri”. Please do not fade away in oblivion for there are so many of us, who look upto you, as true lovers of indian Cinema.