Ms. Versatility

Arts & Culture Magazine

Actress Sridevi’s untimely death marks the end of an era, says Debanjali Kabiraj

Hindi cinema’s first “female superstar” is no more. Legendary actress Sridevi passed away on 24th February 2018 in a drowning accident. She is known for her extraordinary performances in Chandni, Sadma, Mr. India and English Vinglish, and played pivotal and strong characters in the many movies she acted in.

Born in 1963, Shree Amma YangerAyyapan, later shortened to Sridevi, stated out as a child artist at the age of 4 in the Tamil movie Kandan Karunai. She acted in several Tamil, Telegu, Kannada and Malayalam movies till she debuted in Bollywood in an adult role was in Solva Sawan (1979).

Sridevi was also a TV star, acting in a serial called Malini Iyer.She quit acting in movies in 1997 but continued to make appearances in TV and fashion shows. After an eight-years hiatus, she made a comeback in Bollywood film English Vinglish, directed by Gauri Shinde, which won her acclaim. Her latest movie was MOM, a thriller based on the a mother-daughter relationship.

In the long journey from Sadma to MOM, Sridevi played many roles. But it was strong woman character that won her fame, one such role being Nehalata in Sadma. She plays the role of a modern girl who meets with an accident and develops reprographic amnesia. It leaves her with the memory and behavior of a six or seven-year-old girl. Through this character she brings out the innocence of a child and the beauty of a simple life.

In Himmatwala, Sridevi plays Rekha, the female protagonist who stands up against her father to fight for what’s right. Tohfa is a 1984 drama directed by K. Raghavendra Rao, in which Sridevi portrays Lalita, who sacrifices her love for her sister’s happiness.

Nagina was a blockbuster where Sridevi plays the lead role of a shape-shifting venomous snake. She was paired opposite the star Rishi Kapoor but dominated the screen with her phenomenal acting. In this role she sought to convey the power and willfulness of an angry woman.

Lamhe, directed by Yash Chopra, saw Sridevi play a double role, of Pallavi and Pooja, a mother-daughter duo. Her characters in the movie convey a message of love transcending age. Roopki Rani Choro ka Raja was a big-budget movie where she plays the role of Seema Soni, a girl who lost her father at a tender age and is out to avenge her father’s murder. She portrays the role of a strong woman who is willing to go to any length to protect her family.

Judaai is a dramatic comedy which has Anil Kapoor, Sridevi and Urmila Matondkar in lead roles. Sridevi plays the role of Kajal, a woman greedy for riches. Although she plays a negative role in the movie, her role ultimately conveys the truth that money is not everything. Relations are much more important in life than money. Chalbaaz is another movie where Sridevi plays a double role. She exhibits two differentpersonas of women, the coy, soft-spoken girl and a go-getter who can fend for herself.

Chandni, however, is the movie that made Sridevi a household name. She plays the title role where she portrays a caring and sensitive woman. The inner beauty of her character perfectly complements Sridevi’s gorgeous appearance, an image of her that stays with you long after the movie.

Her comeback movie English Vinglish earned her critical acclaim. She portrays the role of Shashi Godbole, who is both a homemaker and an entrepreneur. Her character shows how an Indian woman can balance her household and simultaneously be true to herself and independent.

Her latest release was MOM, where she plays the role of Devki Sabarwal, a stepmother who sets out to take revenge on her daughter’s rapists. Her character shows the boundless love of a mother for her child and the price she’s willing to pay for it.

These outstanding characters inspired women of all ages from teenagers to middle aged housewives. Her death at 54 has come as a shock to millions of men and women who came to identify her with the strength of the characters she played, their goodness of heart and the hope they inspired. She will be deeply missed.

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