A nation mourns Sridevi's loss
Celebrities from Tamil film industry mourn the sudden demise of veteran actor Sridevi
Sridevi, who's had a stellar acting career, passed away around midnight on Saturday in Dubai due to cardiac arrest. She was 54. The veteran actor had reportedly gone to attend her nephew Mohit Marwah’s wedding. The news of her unexpected demise has come as a rude shock to the film fraternity and her fans.
Born in Sivakasi on August 13, 1963, Sridevi made her acting debut as a child artiste in Thunaivan (1969) and went on to win the Kerala Best Child Artiste Award in 1971 for Poompatta.
Later, she got a big breakthrough K Balachander's Moondru Mudichu and Bharathirajaa's 16 Vayathinile, and acted in several successful films with stars like Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth in Tamil. In a career spanning over four decades, she starred in over 300 films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi. Some of her popular films include Himmatwala (opposite Jeetendra), Meri Biwi Ka Jawaab, Lemhe, Devaraagam, Prema Kanuka and so on.
After a brief hiatus of 15 years, Sridevi made a comeback with Gauri Shinde's English Vinglish in 2012. Last year, she starred in Mom which fetched an overwhelmingly positive response from both the audience and critics. Sridevi was honoured with the Padma Shri in 2013.
In Tamil, her last film was the Vijay-starrer Puli, and she'll be posthumously seen in a special appearance in Shah Rukh Khan's forthcoming film, Zero.
Her last rites will be performed today in Juhu. She is survived by husband Boney Kapoor and two daughters, Jhanvi and Khushi.
Film fraternity shocked
Priya Anand, actor:
I am deeply saddened. I spent a big chunk of my childhood following her films and imitating her dance moves. The biggest gift of my life was the chance I got to work with her on English Vinglish.
While shooting with her, what struck me the most was what an amazing mother she was. It's such a terrible loss for her family, friends, and fans all over the world, like me.
K Bhagyaraj: actor-director:
It's not an easy thing to gain a good reputation in the Tamil film industry, deliver hits in all Southern languages, step into Bollywood without knowing the language and become a star. She made all of us proud. When I started my career as an assistant director in 16 Vayathinile, I was totally surprised to see Sridevi perform on par with Kamal Haasan. Her dialogue delivery and dubbing skills were impeccable. I believe that her soul will guide her children. She was a person who never thought of anything aside from cinema.
PT Selvakumar, producer:
She made a comeback to Tamil cinema with Puli, a film I produced. Many film personalities wanted to rope in her for their films over the years, but it never happened. I'm glad she came on board for my project. She has a house on TTK Road, and I remember her cooking for us once. Though she was a sought-after actor in Bollywood, Tamil films always remained close to her heart. She had a sharp memory, and could easily recall most of her scenes from her old films. I'll always remember for her childlike enthusiasm and soft-spoken nature.
Prathap Pothen, actor-director:
Our first film together was Varumaiyin Niram Sivappu by K Balachander; it was an unforgettable experience. Sridevi was senior to me then. In all my scenes with her, she was fantastic. I became her fan after that film. She was cultured and intelligent. Acting was her life. She was the best in every language she worked. She was really the star of our times. Also, a role model for us.
Chinni Jayanth, actor:
I've performed mimicry shows for her family functions in Mumbai. She was an ardent fan of Suruli Rajan. She had no airs even after becoming a superstar in Bollywood. I am shocked and saddened to hear about her demise.
Sheela, senior actor:
We were neighbours for a long time before she moved out of Chennai. Even as a child actor, she showed immense calibre and talent. I believe, of all the South Indian heroines who made it big in Hindi at that time, Sridevi was the best. Her beauty and talent made her a superstar. We worked together in a Malayalam film, Aa Nimisham, and stayed together in the same house for a month. I remember her being warm and friendly. Sadly, after she moved base to Mumbai, we lost touch.
VK Prakash, director:
It was just before her comeback in English Vinglish that I worked with her for a jewellery brand advertisenent. Though an experienced artiste, she stayed back till the work was over late in the night. For her, this was as important a project as any she took up. She was a committed person.
Our family is so fond of her that we named one of our daughters after her. In fact, her marriage with Boney Kapoor happened at our place. There was always a twinkle in Sridevi's eyes. We had a lot of fun working together in films, and my wife Manjula and I had great respect for her.
We share the same sun sign, Leo, and bonded really well on the sets of Puli. She was like a mother to me -- so warm and caring. Sridevi was more than an actor. It feels like a personal loss. She was a gentle person and will be dearly missed.
YGEE Mahendra, actor-theatre artiste:
Sridevi and I have worked in films like Pokkiri Raja, and it was nothing short of fun to be on the sets with her. She was nice even to the newcomers; this was a rare trait in senior artistes then.
We had dined together a couple of times in Chennai. She was a doting mother, and my heart goes out to her daughters. Her brilliant performances will be remembered for generations to come.
Radha Ravi, actor-politician:
I think she was an extraordinary actor, who was blessed with both beauty and brains. Even if she had personal problems, she wouldn't show that at work, and mingled with everyone. Moondram Pirai is my all-time favourite of her films.
SP Muthuraman, director:
I directed her in Kanimuthu Paappa (1972). She was a child artiste then. I saw her grow into a beautiful actor, and directed her again in Priya and Pokkiri Raja. It was easy for her to slip into the role, the moment she wore the costumes. The way she moulded herself was simply amazing. She was very sincere and professional. I remember a funny incident that happened on the sets of Priya. Usually, she'd come on time. But that day, she was missing. I was worried, until I found out that she'd stayed in the room itself because she wasn't comfortable wearing a swimsuit. (Laughs) I had to tell her it'd all be okay before we could began shooting. This is a great loss to the world of cinema.
Sridevi was my aunt's (Vijaya Nirmala) neighbour in Chennai, and I knew her since she was six. By then, she was already a popular child artiste and I still remember her as a smiling, yet cute girl wearing a checkered frock. She was disciplined and always had a lot of respect for elders. She was shy by nature and wouldn't speak much unless she shared a personal bond with someone. She was passionate about films and worked relentlessly to realise her dreams. Although there were better dancers than her, her style and grace were so unique. Even after attaining superstardom, she remained the same. Sridevi and I worked in about 10 films including Gajadonga, Premabhishekam and Illalu.
She introduced me to her daughters (Jhanvi and Khushi) at her nephew's marriage. We had a great time there and she personally escorted me to my car when I left. I was one of her guests at a party hosted to celebrate her Padma Shri honour at her niece (and actor) Maheshwari's place. We spoke at length about a lot of things and she served me dinner herself. When we met last time at a function organised by Subbarami Reddy garu, she spoke at length about her older daughter Jhanvi's acting debut and I still remember her words, "Being Sridevi's daughter would get an entry into the showbiz but she has to work hard to create her own identity." Sridevi consolidated her position as the number one heroine across industries -- be it Telugu, Tamil and Hindi. We've lost an iconic personality and a celebrated actor of the Indian film industry.
(With inputs from Murali Krishna CH, Meera Suresh, Arunkumar Sekhar)