Body-shamed for her “thunder thighs” and sometimes ridiculed for being dubbed in many other films, Sridevi may not have always had a smooth ride, but in every role that she took for a movie, there was quite the defiance from a kind of star who came out alive and shone her light on screen once the camera was on – hair perfectly blow-dried, dress ironed flat and laid out in a fluff, eyes narrating an entire story in the fraction of a second. And as soon as the lights were out, it was back to being a woman, with her scars, her secrets, and her many stories.
From child artiste to superstar, Sridevi has won acclaim for ruling hearts for a span of almost five decades. What is remarkable about her rise to the throne is that she made her way to the absolute top through her versatility, her commitment to cinema and nothing other than the hard work that she chose to deliver. She never had any godfathers in any of the industries she worked in, who could help push her name to the mettle that she earned.
In her last days, the actress was in Dubai with her family, including husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Janhvi, to attend a wedding. News of her sudden demise came early Sunday morning, according to Filmfare, that cited a massive cardiac arrest as the cause of her death. She was only 55 years old.
Here are her most unforgettable performances in Indian cinema that deserve a standing ovation:
Sridevi plays the jaw-dropping role of a braided and awkward girl-woman in Sadma, who after an incident regresses into childhood and conveys to the audience all the nuances of her character’s predicament. According to her formidable co-star Kamal Haasan, she embraced the character even better in the Tamil original ‘Moondram Pirai’.
This is the film that may have inspired the nagin dance (and we’re serious). Nagina was a cult classic in which a woman was able to transform herself into a snake in order to avenge her husband’s death. Wouldn’t all us womankind kill to have such extraterrestrial powers? The film was adored by a lot of people worldwide.
Mr. India (1987)
This film was a breakthrough in Sridevi’s everlasting romance with the camera. Starring alongside Anil Kapoor and Anupam Kher, the revered actress played a perky reporter, outdoing all her previous performances. She oozed sensuality in her iconic blue chiffon sari in the song ‘Kate Nahin Katt Te’ and her outlandish headgear in ‘Hawa Hawai‘, as though she was born to storm the costume drama.
The actress embodied a perfect Yash Chopra heroine with this film. She definitely lost weight for the role and utilized her subtle emotions to breathe life into her character. Donning a beautiful wardrobe of saris, the actor looked breathtaking, as she giggled, sang and wept for the love of a tragically wheelchair-bound Rishi Kapoor.
Yash Chopra brought her back to the screen in this very bold love story of a girl who dares to love a man old enough to be her father. This age gap romance was hard to digest for moviegoers back in the day, which is what credits to its commercial unsuccess, however, it is still considered one of the best romantic Bollywood films of all time.
Starring alongside Anil Kapoor and Urmila Matondkar, Sridevi essayed one of her best performances, playing the role of a housewife. One of the most famous songs from the film was Pyaar Pyaar Karte Karte.
English Vinglish (2012)
After a 15-year hiatus, Sridevi made a powerful comeback into the industry with English Vinglish. Portraying the role of a housewife once again, this time she stepped out of her comfort zone and proved that no one could match her prowess or ever replace the iconic place that she had established for herself.
Sridevi worked with Pakistani actors, Sajal Aly and Adnan Siddiqui, in her last film Mom, which won her several accolades and a lot of love from the Pakistani industry. Playing a step-mother to Sajal, she made her way into the hearts of almost everyone across the border, garnering praises for her exemplary forte and skill.