Sridevi Superstar Status, Controversies and Death
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Sridevi is one of the most prolific actors of Indian Cinema. She is nicknamed ‘Chandini’ in the B-Town, and ‘Athiloka Sundari’ in T-Town. The actress is still considered as a child; both for her innocence and the being a director’s actor. ‘She understands what the director’s need for the hour is. While the director inputs are limited to 10%, the rest of the 90% is her sheer magic,’ quotes a cinematographer. Born as Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan on 13th August 1963, Sridevi made her debut with the mythological film Thunaivan (Tamil), when she was just 4.
Two things never got old with time; one is the sheer beauty of Sridevi, and the other is Sridevi herself. The diva often referred herself as ‘Sreedevi’, but she was never bothered to correct the error in her name when referred by others.
Acting as a grand-daughter and a heroine to the same hero…
The national media channels might tag her as the queen of Bollywood, but the truth remains, she is a Telugu girl, born in a Telugu family. She is raised and brought up in Tamil Nadu. The born actress, turned pro just at the age of 13, playing the role of a step-mother to ‘Thalaiva’ Rajinikanth, who was 26 at that time. Sridevi might probably be theonly actress in the history of cinema, to act as grand-daughter and as a heroine to a hero.
Sridevi acted as granddaughter to NT Rama Rao in the film Badi Panthulu (1972), when she was 9 years old, and starred opposite to him as the heroine, in the film Vetagadu (1979). At that time, she was just 16 years old.
She rose to success in both Tamil and Telugu film industries concurrently. She acted in more than 20 films with Kamal Hassan and was directed by K Raghavendra Rao in 24 films. Other star heroes who shared screen space with her included Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, and Venkatesh. She delivered great commercial hits at the box office.
Early career in Bollywood
Sridevi made her Bollywood debut with the movie Solva Sawan (1979), a remake Sridevi’s Tamil film 16 Vayanthinile (1977). Though Solva Sawan bombed at the box office, Sridevi soon landed in the film Himmatwala (1983), opposite Jeetendra. The film turned out to be one of the biggest blockbusters in 1980’s, catapulting Sridevi to newheights in the Hindi film industry. Interestingly, this film too was a remake. It is an official remake of the Telugu film Ooruki Monagadu (1981), which saw Superstar Krishna and Jayaprada in the lead roles. Sridevi scored her second hit with Tohfa. Sridevi and Jayaprada played love interests of Jeetendra in the film. Tohfa turned out to be the biggest hit in 1984.
From thereon, there was no looking back for Sridevi. With back-to-back blockbusters and super hit films, Sridevi established herself as the Lady Superstar in the Indian film industry.
Rise to success in Tamil – Telugu – Hindi Film Industries
Tamil and Telugu Films
Her dream run in Telugu and Tamil film industry continued. Her films with veteran actors NTR (Vetagadu, Sardar Papa Rayudu), ANR (Premabhishekam, Sri Ranga Neethulu) in Telugu remain as classics even till date. Similarly, her films with Chiranjeevi (Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari), Nagarjuna (Govinda Govinda, Aakhari Poratam), and Venkatesh (Kshana Kshanam) re-wrote Tollywood box office records and were commercial hits. ‘SP Parusuram’ (1994) with Megastar Chiranjeevi, became her last film in Tollywood.
In Tamil, she was primarily seen with Kamal Hassan (Guru, Vazhey Maayam) andRajinikanth (Johnny, Thanikattu Raja). Her last film in Tamil (before 2015-Puli) was Naan Adimai Illai (1996) with Rajinikanth.
Parallelly in Bollywood, she starred opposite Kamal Hassan (Sadma), Rajesh Khanna (Masterji), Amitabh Bachchan (Khuda Gawah), Anil Kapoor (Mr India, Lamhe), Rishi Kapoor (Nagina, Chandini) and with other top leading heroes at that time. These movies brought her critical acclaim and stardom in Bollywood.
Her guest appearance in Janbaaz completely overshadowed the lead actress Dimple Kapadia upon the film’s release. This is a clear example of the stardom, and craze Sridevi enjoyed in her 18-year long film career. After she got married to Boney Kapoor in 1996, she took a long break.
After a 15-year hiatus from the silver screen, the angelic beauty made her come back with the film ‘English Vinglish’ (2012). English Vinglish is the story of a mother who is mocked by her husband and daughter for her poor English speaking skills. She later enrols in an English-speaking course and becomes proficient in the language. The film was both a critical and commercial success.
The prolific actress started her second innings in Tamil, with the movie Puli (2015). She played the role of the prince’s mother in the film. Sridevi played her final major role came in the movie ‘Mom’ which released in July 2017. We can see her one last time on the silver screen in Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Zero’. The movie is set to release in December 2018.
Personal Life and Controversies:
It is rumoured that Sridevi was deeply in love with Jeetendra, during her early days in Bollywood. During the late 80’s, she developed an intimate relationship with co-actor Mithun Chakraborty. The couple accepted their relationship after wedding photos of the couple were leaked. Soon, their marriage was nullified, with Mithun already married to Yogeeta Bali. Sridevi and Mithun Chakrabortyrelationship were called off in 1988.
Sridevi once again shifted her focus on her film career. She delivered back-to-back hits. Boney Kapoor, who became her future husband, produced most of Sridevi’s films at that time. He was so fond of Sridevi, that we even went to Tamil Nadu to see her during shootings. Reportedly, Boney and Sridevi fell in love on the movie sets over a period of time. Both had an intimate relationship before getting married.
Sridevi announced that she was expecting a baby even before she got married. They got married in 1996. Sridevi delivered a baby girl, Jahnavi Kapoor on 7th March 1997. The couple had another child, Kushi in 2000.
Sridevi breathed her last on 24thFebruary 2018, in a hotel room in Dubai. According to the family members of the actress, cardiac arrest was the cause of her death. Later, the Department of Preventive Medicine which conducted anautopsy, published the reason for the death as ‘accidental drowning’.
The term ‘accidental drowning’ became a subject of heated debates between media outlets for their TRPs. Nevertheless, the fact that Sridevi is no more is etched in time. The actress has reportedly breathed her last after she drowned in the bathtub.
The legendary actress mortal remains have been brought to Mumbai in a special flight on February 27th, 2018. The flight touched down at around 9:30 pm in Mumbai. Soon, after the completion of formalities (at the Cargo Terminal), mortal remains of Sridevi were taken to her Lokhandwala residence in Green Acres.
Sridevi’s body will be kept at the Celebration Sports Club for public homage, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm on 28thFebruary 2018. Funeral will be performed at the Santa Cruz Crematorium (in Mumbai) at 3:30 pm on 28thFebruary 2018.
Sridevi has excelled in every character she played on the silver screen, and ever role she took up in her life. It is unfortunate to see someone like Sridevi, who lived 50 years on the silver screen, living just 54 years in real life.
Sridevi…. You will live in our hearts, as long as Indian cinema lives!
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