Sridevi (1963-2018) is as good as it gets. Over the last fifty years, acting in 300 movies from the age of four, the six-time Filmfare Award-winning actress and Padma Shri awardee has portrayed so many interesting and versatile characters starring in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi films that it’s hard to choose only one favorite role.
And as if that’s not enough, her character off-screen was pretty incredible, too. She was shy and reserved in public but admitted to being a comedienne who loves making her family laugh. She was a devoted wife to producer Boney Kapoor, mother to Jahnvi and Khushi. Jahnvi is already shooting for her debut film which is to be released this year.
How could anyone not love her?
I thought we’d mourn her unexpected passing by celebrating her life and reflecting on a few of the many reasons I think she’s simply amazing:
1. She’s a beauty with great acting chops, dancing skills and comic timing
Sridevi acted in a range of movies that showcases her acting prowess. From southern potboilers to her glamorous avatar in male-centric Hindi movies, she shone through for her charisma and confidence. In Shekhar Kapur’s Mr India, her unforgettable performance combined her flair for drama, comedy, dance and sensuality. Who can forget her imitation of Charlie Chaplin or her sensuous saree numbers? She was one actress that refused to be typecast or siloed.
2. She embraced her age with grace
Before “English Vinglish” in 2012, she took a break from acting and avoided accepting the usual motherly roles that are offered to actresses her age in Bollywood. But in 2012, she seemed totally cool with it: “The moment I heard the script, the one thing which struck me was the character of Shashi. After reading the script, I developed a deep sense of feeling towards the strong character of this woman. I instantly related with Shashi and being a mother I could feel the emotions that the character required and it was then that I thought that I should portray Shashi in Gauri’s film.”
She’s also flawlessly portrayed unforgettable women characters in films like Sadma, Chandni, Lamhe, Mr.India, Khuda Gawah, Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja, Chaalbaaz, Gumraah, and in her movie that came out last July, Mom.
3. Seriously, what hasn’t she done on the big screen?
Excuse me. Sridevi could play Gandhi and be the right choice.
Her acting career spans across languages, drama, comedy and art house cinema. She’s portrayed iconic women characters and made us giggle to a ton of comedic capers. It’s hard for me to just pick one favorite character or movie of hers! But, Sadma and Mr.India are on top of the list. If anyone could make you laugh it was her, if anyone could make you sob uncontrollably, that was her too.
4. She is a master of her craft
With a prolific and seemingly never-ending acting career, it’s no surprise that Sridevi can dish out some major and insightful truth bombs. Sridevi said she’s an instinctive performer. “I become that character only once the director says ‘action’. I don’t believe that if it is a sad scene, you have to be sad through the day or carry the grief home. I’m not a method actor. The character is firmly left behind on the sets.”
5. Her family is a major priority
Although her career has been nothing short of an amazing adventure, she always made time for her family. She put work on the back burner to focus on raising a family and chose films that let her stick close to her kids. Sridevi has said she never really missed being on the sets during her long break. “I was doing equally enjoyable things — shopping, gymming, playing tennis, and swimming. Nothing tempted me to sacrifice the time I had with my children. When it did in the form of English Vinglish, I made allowances, struck a balance — when we were shooting in New York, the kids were with me for a month and a half.”
6. Even Steven Spielberg adored her.
Sridevi was considered for a role in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film Jurassic Park.
When the grapevine had buzzed with the news that she had been offered a role by Spielberg, she had looked awfully sorry, and added, “I had to refuse an offer from Spielberg-ji.” Perhaps that was the first and last time anyone had addressed Spielberg with a ‘ji’. What an adorable way to say no, she was a charmer, for reals!
7. She has six Filmfare Awards.
And has been nominated 12 times. In 2013, she also received the Padma Shri – India’s fourth highest civilian award from the Government of India.
8. She loved being in love.
Celebrity divorces are nothing new, but Sridevi courted controversy a when she married the much-married producer Boney Kapoor. They’ve been together for two decades and she has said of their relationship, “I am not the least embarrassed or apologetic about my dependence on Boneyji. He is my lifeline . He looks after every little detail in my life. I can’t imagine what life would be without him.”
In a 2012 interview she said, ‘Love gives me the energy. There is no secret; whatever you are inside will reflect on your face. Just be happy and positive. Just look for the basic things every morning. You have to be happy from within and enjoy.’
Parting words much? Oh how I’m going to miss my favorite heroine. RIP Sri. Do you love Sridevi as well?