Sridevi – “The First Female Superstar of India”

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Sridevi

“Some people think that I am very arrogant, but I am genuinely a very private and shy person. I open up to people who are close to me, and with them, I am a different person.” This statement by Sridevi is enough to sum up her entire life. Sridevi has been “a woman who lived, loved, and acted on her own terms.”

The beautiful and elegant Sridevi

Sridevi Kapoorher original name is Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan was an Indian actress and a film producer. She was a part of 5 different film industries throughout his career –  Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam, and Kannada. She is referred to as the “First Female Superstar of India” due to her beautiful and elegant acting in 300 films. She was one of the highest-paid actors in 1980s and 1990s. She had this beautiful skill of connecting to people which made her one of the most popular actresses of Indian cinema.

Sridevi`s Early Life

Sridevi was born in the city of Tamil Nadu – Sivakasi, on 13th August 1963. Her father was a lawyer and her mother was a housemaker. Sridevi made her debut as a child artiste in a Tamil film Kandan Karunai when she was just 4. Her first film in which she was in the lead role was with M. A. Thirumugam’s in a Tamil film Thunaivan in the year 1969. She made her debut in the Hindi film industry as a child artist in the year 1972 with the film – Rani Mera Naam. Sridevi established herself as one of the leading actresses of Tamil and Telugu cinema in the 1980s.

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Sridevi`s Early Days

Sridevi married producer Boney Kapoor in the year 1996. The couple has two daughters, Janhvi, being the elder one born in the year 1997 and Khushi the younger one born in the year 2000.

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Sridevi along with Boney Kapoor and their daughters – Jahanvi and Khushi.

 

Sridevi`s Career as an Actor

Sridevi’s first leading role in the Hindi cinema came in the year 1979 with the film Solva Sawan. She was widely acclaimed for her performance in the film Himmatwala in the year 1983. She went on to be part of a string of commercially successful films, including Mawaali (1983), Sadma (1983), Tohfa (1984), Naya Kadam (1984), Maqsad (1984), Masterji (1985), Nagina(1986), Nazrana (1987), Mr. India (1987), Waqt Ki Awaz (1988), ChaalBaaz (1989), Chandni (1989), Lamhe (1991), Khuda Gawah (1992), Gumrah (1993), Laadla (1994) and Judaai (1997).

Sridevi`s film and her acting were highly praised worldwide for the film Mr. India and still remains one of the most iconic films of Hindi industry. Peoples reaction after watching the movie was that the film should have been named Miss India, such was her performance in the film that he completely overshadowed her male co-star Anil Kapoor. Rediff stated that “Sri was a complete show-stealer in the film”. Sridevi’s impersonation of Charlie Chaplin in the film was described by The Times of India as “the most hilarious act she has ever done”. Her acting skills were so extraordinary that Rediff featured her in its list of ‘Super Six Comic Heroines’ stating that “her mobile face expressions could give Jim Carrey sleepless nights” and that “her biggest plus point is her ability to be completely uninhibited in front of the camera”.

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Sridevi in the film Mr. India.

 

The dance number ‘Hawa Hawai’, cited by The Times of India as “one of the unforgettable numbers of Sridevi”. This song became so popular that she was known by this name all over the country more than her name – Sridevi. Her 1989 film, ChaalBaaz, in which Sridevi played a double role was ranked fourth in the Filmfare list of ’80 Iconic Performances of Hindi Cinema’. Filmfare stated that “Sridevi’s penchant for giggles and her ability to look distinctly tearful when required polishes these performances to perfection. Hell, she made Sunny Deol and Rajnikant look like sidekicks in the film”.

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Sridevi in the song – Hawa Hawai.

In the year 1992, Sridevi starred opposite Amitabh Bachchan in the film Khuda Gawah. The actress again played a double role. The film was mostly shot in Afghanistan. BBC stated that “it ran to packed houses for 10 weeks in Kabul. Even today after 25 years of the film being released, it is one of the most popular and still in-demand movies in Afghanistan. She was part of the most expensive films ever made in the Indian film industry – Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja. She was highly appreciated for her performance in the movie and is one of the top blockbuster movies of Indian cinema till date.

Sridevi married producer Boney Kapoor in the year 1996. After her marriage with Boney Kapoor, she was not a part of any film for around 10 years and was strictly devoted to growing her daughters up. She was also seen buying household things like vegetables and fruits which showed her simplicity even after being such a highly rated superstar. The last major film Sridevi starred in before she took a break from the film industry was Judaai, which came in the year 1997. The actress played a greedy housewife going to utmost extent for money. A film critic, Subhash K. Jha wrote that Sridevi “left us with the most stunning hurrah in Judaai. A terrible film that I’ve watched countless times to see her play the money-minded harridan who ‘sells’ her husband to Urmila Matondkar. Who but Sridevi could carry off such an outrageous role with such enthusiastic élan?!”

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Sridevi`s comeback to Hindi films in the year 2012.

She returned to acting in films in the year 2012 for her second innings as an actor, with the successful comedy-drama English Vinglish. She was even nominated for Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance in this movie. After 5 years, she starred in her 300th film – Mom,  in the year 2017. She earned critical acclaim and was highly appreciated by both the audience and the film critics for her performances in both the films.

When she made her comeback to the Indian cinema, she stated “I don`t take it as a comeback as I had never quit the industry”.

Awards that Sridevi Received

Sridevi received her very first award in the year 1977 which was the Filmfare Special Award – South for 16 Vayathinile. In the year 1982, she received the Filmfare Best Actress Award (Tamil) for Meendum Kokila. In the year 1991, she received the  Filmfare Best Actress Award (Telugu) for Kshana Kshanam.

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Sridevi receiving the Filmfare Best Actress Award from Amitabh.

Sridevi received 2 Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance in movies – Lamhe and ChaalBaaz. She was nominated for Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance in movies –  Sadma, Chandni, Khuda Gawah, Gumrah, Laadla, Judaai, English Vinglish, Mom.

Sridevi received the “Order of Afghanistan after her film Khuda Gawah in the year 1991. In the year 2013, she received “The Empress of Indian Cinema” award in the TSR-TV9 Awards ceremony in the year 2013. Sridevi was also voted “India’s Greatest Actress in 100 Years” in a CNN-IBN national poll conducted in 2013 on the occasion of the centenary of Indian cinema.

She received numerous special honors throughout his life for her contribution to Indian cinema. In the year 2013, the Government of India awarded Sridevi the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest civilian award for her contributions to the entertainment industry. Honourary awards were also bestowed on her by the state governments of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala.

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Sridevi receiving the Padma Shiri Award from The President of India.

In the year 1990, she received the “Smita Patil Memorial Award for Contribution to Indian Cinema” award. In the year 2003, she received the “Lachchu Maharaj Award” and the “Vamsee International Award” for her contribution in Indian Cinema. In the year 2008, she received the FICCI “Living Legend in Entertainment Award”. In the year 2009, she received the “Special Honour” at 33rd Cairo International Film Festival for Contribution to Hindi Cinema. In the year 2013, she received from the President of India, the “Medallion of Honour” for her contribution to 100 Years of Indian Cinema. These are some of the many awards that Sridevi Ji received throughout his career.

Unfortunately, India and the whole world lost one of the best actress ever produced on 24th February 2018. The entire Indian cinema could not believe that they lost their first female superstar so early. She was loved and respected by the entire film industry along with the people of India. Anupam Kher, who has worked with Sridevi in many films, said “Sometimes some people are so close to you, some people affect you so much, the person, the actor, the personality, talking about that person in the past tense is very saddening. To me, Sridevi as an actor, as a person, as a friend… We have worked together in sixteen films. So her memory will always be alive in my heart. So, I am feeling very weird to talk about her as ‘she was’. It will take me some time to prepare myself to talk about her in the past tense. But, we’ve lost the biggest human being, and the biggest star of our country.” She was loved so much by the people of India that her funeral was attended by a large number of mourners from all over the country. People came to see their “first female superstar” for the very last time.

 

“I am very simple, all these praises scare me. I feel like a newcomer.” – Sridevi

 

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