I know that an actress most associated with the 1980s and 1990s might seem slightly out of context in this blog, considering that I was focusing on the Golden Age and Vintage era so much for quite a while. The actresses and dancers whom I’ve been most likely to spend time on either are deceased already or are at an age that makes us worry about how much longer they might last. But I actually have spent some time posting about Sridevi before… She is another subject that I am returning to who was featured more in this blog about ten years ago. And I wish I were not returning to her for such a tragic reason, namely, that the actress whom none of us expected could die anytime soon had her life ended by a sudden heart attack. This is one death that must have been a shock to everyone. (And I still am thinking that there must be more to the story; maybe there is. How could this happen? It is just about unbelievable.) [News received the next day: Yes, there was more to it… Not cardiac arrest, but became unconscious in the bathtub (after drinking) and drowned. That is truly awful. And there may be further news to make it all worse.]
In my blog posts of a decade or so ago, I mentioned a number of Sridevi movies and dance scenes. I had watched some of the earliest movies in which she starred as an “adult” (though really only a teenager, as many Indian film stars are when they make their debuts as “adults”), and I also posted about her childhood appearance in at least one film. I also posted a number of scenes of her dances throughout the 1980s, and I seem to recall that those were actually the topic of a good amount of discussion here. (Unfortunately, I can’t find some of that at the moment. Did I delete the posts? Didn’t I have some extensive discussion here with someone about her snake dances?) In any event, my writings and posts were the result of the fact that I did have some great fondness and fascination for Sridevi, and among the actresses who rose up in the ’80s (which usually also are the stars closest to my own age), she is probably the most significant to me – as she is to a lot of people.
Sridevi was not perfect, and I may have pointed out some flaws. I don’t think she was a great a classical dancer (which makes sense, since she never had any classical training). She was impressively dexterous and athletic, but in comparison to a few others – including a dancer who shared her birthday, named Vyjayanthimala – she really didn’t come close. But she did always present us with tons of character and, often, terrific expressions – which was actually stuff related to her superb acting skills. (I might also add that she could be very sexy, but I think anyone who knows of her at all already knows that. Beyond that, she was also very pretty. Some might want to make an argument that she looked better when she was earthier, before some notorious plastic surgeries. I wouldn’t, though – I think she was always pretty, earlier and later.)
Some of Sridevi’s earliest movies (as an “adult,” that is) had heavy, dramatic elements, and she did very well with those. But she actually impressed me more when she had the chance to mix dance with comedy. Other people have said the same thing, pointing out her terrific comic timing. Maybe that was her greatest skill.
A few people have pointed out that Sridevi was better than a lot of the movies she starred in, and from I have seen, I agree. But this might have a lot to do with the era that she rose up in. (In fact, I would say the same about Madhuri Dixit – whom Sridevi is compared to sometimes. Some of Madhuri’s most wonderful songs and dances were in movies that I couldn’t stand.)
On the other hand, I don’t think Sridevi could ever really be separated from the 1980s in anyone’s mind. And the ’80s would certainly have been a bit worse without her. This could probably be said of some of the ’90s also. And since her recent comeback, even the 2010s…
It is so sad to see her life cut off so soon!
Farewell, Sridevi, we will miss you (though, thankfully, we will still always have a chance to see you).
Rest in peace.
P.S. I intend to post and write a little more about Sridevi – with more details, links, maybe some videos – soon.