ACTING

Tribute to Sridevi

I suffer from this condition; I call it anti-flow. When all things flow in one direction, I tend to do just the opposite. So when the whole country was consuming the frenzied news explosion of the unfortunate, untimely demise of the “Devi” of Bollywood, I just didn’t feel like writing about it.  I was confused to write or not to write. I made a choice, and my condition helped me with it. I am not a scribe or a fan, but that was not the reason. I felt too small to write about her.

Sridevi Remembered at the Oscars

Today, It was Oscar’s night at the academy and Monday morning here. I woke up late to catch it but was happy to see one of my favourite directors Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water topping the charts. But, a strange incident happened. I keep my phone shut during the night. So, while watching the Oscar’s, I switched it on.

The Academy was paying its classic tribute to the artists who lost their lives last year. Out of the blue, I saw Roger Moore too passed away last year. He was the Bond I grew with. It was shocking, and I wondered how I missed the news of his demise. I had a sudden urge to capture the moment. Usually, in that section montage, the photos come and go in seconds. So, like in the cowboy westerns, I quickly drew my phone and in a snap clicked at the screen. I wasn’t as fast a Clint Eastwood, but my misfire captured something which made the moment memorable. It was Sridevi captured at the opportune moment. It was good to see the Academy remembering her. Though she had no contribution to Hollywood, she came close to doing Jurassic park when Spielberg offered her. I felt this accidental shot was divine. I had to write about it now.

Sridevi-Oscars

Pic: Sridevi remembered at the Oscars.

Sridevi’s Death News

I recalled that night, I was restless and couldn’t sleep. I too was probably experiencing the same feeling that Mr. Bachchan felt that night. When I feel anxious at night, I have devised a cure for it. I shift to my living room, briskly walk till I get tired and then retire back to bed. It usually takes half an hour to an hour before I feel exhausted. That night, after walking for around twenty minutes in the dark, I was still restless. It was 3.40 AM. I switched on my cell phone to casually check what my friends from the west were posting.

By then, the news of her death had reached them, and it was flashing on the screen. I smirked at the news, fully sure of it being one of those hoaxes which kill the celebrities. I am always smart enough to not fall for these fake stories which flood the social media today. But wait… these posts were links from the Huffington post, Ndtv, and Indian Express. My heart skipped a beat. It was true.

Few days passed by, the controversies surrounding her death and the mourning subsided fast as media shifted to their next headline. Life returned to normal soon as the pain washed away with Holi colours. The pain may wash away but will the indelible mark she has left behind wash away? While the media showcased most of her work from the recent movies with some spurts of her old hit songs from her best ones, I was saddened. Rarely anyone mentioned about her string of sleeper hits she delivered with Jeetendra. That was the beginning of the making of a “Devi.”

 

The little girl from Julie in the mid-seventies quickly made her mark in Bollywood as a heroine in Solva Sawan in 1979 but gained recognition with Himmatwala and Sadma in 1983. There was a period during my wonder years when the Jeetendra-Sridevi movies happened every month. Starting from Himmatwala, Tohfa, Mawali, Maqsad, Justice Chaudhary and many more, they gave 13 hits out of the 16 they did in the mid-eighties. Their PT training dance numbers with thousands of dancers at the back signified Bollywood. Even today we celebrate it in a way. But, she had to undergo a long grind before the appreciation of the stellar performances started pouring in. Mr. India, Chalbaaz, Chandni, Nagina, Lamhe, etc. elevated her from a typical heroine to a hero. Yes, she was the hero, and her love interests played second fiddle. Sadly, at the pinnacle of her glory, she chose to settle down and fade away.

The second innings, however, was a very different Sridevi. Looking lean and glamorous yet epitomizing a modern Mom, she showed a different side of her. Her acting matured and her performance more nuanced. He became more “cinema” savvy. But unfortunately, before we began to relish the innings that was flourishing, she was run out. We all missed out on a great inning. Slowly the truth has seeped in that Sridevi is no more. We will truly miss her.

Trivia:

February 25 was the day when Hiimatwala was released in 1983. Sridevi passed away on Feb 24 a day before Himmatwala was going to celebrate its 35th anniversary.

Feature Image : First Post