It is customary to say ‘it is a great loss’ to the field they were in whenever someone passes away; if not it is to their family and friends. But, in most of the cases when the person dies at advanced stages of age or illness, these consoling words sound just hollow. But, when someone popular dies the words are just to be politically correct.
I feel extremely saddened and devastated after hearing the news of actor Sridevi’s untimely demise. To say the least, for me it is unbelievable. Because, actors come and go; but Sridevi does not belong to that category. True, she was in hiatus for nearly 17 years after ‘Judai’. Nevertheless, when she made a comeback what a stunning one it was with Gowri Shinde’s ‘English Vinglish’?
As a moviegoer, of course, selectively, I have almost followed Sridevi’s career closely. I cannot forget her innocent demeanor in her début movie ‘Moondru Mudichu’ as a grownup heroine. Her face carried the teenage innocence but acting carried candor. She would have repeated just what ace director K Balachander would have instructed but it had definitely a charm and freshness. Similar was her next one in ‘Pathinaru Vayadinile’. She graduated and improved her performance with every movie she acted. Her performances in ‘Moondaram Pirai’, ‘Varumayin Niram Sigappu’, ‘Sigappu Rojakkal’ ‘Gayatri’, ‘Pagalil Oar Iravu’ are testimonies to my statement.
In the whole of India, I am sure Sridevi is the only actor who enticed the audience as a perfect performer in four different languages; Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi. She almost attained the super star status after ‘Himmatwala’. Though the North Indian press mocked at her at the beginning as ‘thundering thighs’ have to eat a bowl full of humble pie when she repeated her sterling performances successively in ‘Sadma’, ‘Khuda Gawah’, ‘Mr. India’, ‘Nagina’, ‘Chaalbaaz’, ‘Lumhe’ and ‘Chandini’. The list may go endless. So was the talent of Sridevi. She proved that good acting and glamour need not have to be independent. Her looks and dances in ‘Chandini’, ‘Lumhe’, ‘Mr. India’ and ‘Nagina’ are standing examples for that.
Sridevi had the capacity to shine even with topnotch actors of Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi and capable of making her presence not just conspicuous but at times even overshadow them.
When an ageing actor is asked to do the role of a mother (unfortunately, in Indian movies, it is an unwritten dictum that she has to be blessed with an overworking lachrymal glands!) Sridevi even did it differently with élan. Her both movies ‘English Vinglish’ and ‘Mom’ were exceptional from the run of the mill affair; an all adjusting (not sacrificing!) mother of ‘English Vinglish’ with an individuality and a silent and stoic avenger of injustice of ‘Mom’.
For selective movie lovers like me, Sridevi, in real term, a legend; an actor within a short span of her life (in the present day context 54 is no age to die definitely!) with several hits and worthy films to her credit. It was all the more pathetic that her deat, in a foreign land hotel room still seems to be shrouded with some mystery.
I personally feel actors like Sridevi with beauty and talent is just like a rare meteor. They can happen only once during several years.