How Can Sridevi Die? “I Live Like A Saint”

 Ram Gopal Varma is  not the  only heartbroken Indian. She was an absolute favourite.The darling of  the nation. I doted on Sridevi. I hate Boney Kapoor for getting the privilege of marrying her.I’ve seen Lamhe,  Judaai and Sadma more times than any oother films.

Sridevi was the heartthrob of millions.Truly an icon beyond all icons. And to go in such a  cruel way!…There she  was, attending her husband BoneyKapoor’s nephew Mohit Marwah’s  wedding festivities in Dubai. Lord knows, Sridevi looked like  a million bucks at the wedding, as she always does. (Did you ever see Sridevi looking ill-groomed?).Wedding  over , the family including Boney Kapoor returned to Mumbai.

But Sridevi decided to stay back in Dubai for some shopping. It proved a  fatal mistake. Death came suddenly to claim her when  the man who had held her hand through the  most difficult of times was  not there with her to hold her during her final journey.

 Boney keeps mumbling to  his close family members, “Why  wasn’t I there?”

This question will haunt him for the rest  of his life. Boney’s devotion to his wife is beyond the precincts  of human understanding.Married and  with two growing children, Boney decided to start a  fresh life with Sridevi.  They met when she was trying to find her bearings in Bollywood.

    Boney immediately took charge of her Bollywood career—she was already a major star in Tamil and Telugu—and then  took charge  of  her  life. She initially moved  into Boney’s family residence because she abhorred staying in hotels during her long spells  of shooting on Mumbai away from her  home in Chennai.

 Then she never  moved  out.

Boney was  completely in-charge  of Sridevi’s life. I wonder how he is going to fill his days now. He considered her the best actress in the world, better than Meryl Streep and pushed for her place of supremacy with every breath he had.And she completely reciprocated his  affections.

I  remember Sridevi telling me, “I am not the least embarrassed  or apologetic about my dependence on Boneyji. He  is my lifeline . He looks after everylitte detail in my life. I can’t imagine what  life would be without  him.”

 Now of course Sridevi needn’t answer that question.Destiny had completely different plans.

My hands would tremble every time I’d  be on the phone with her. She tried to laugh away my discomfort.  “Don’t be  like that.I am nothing special. I just do my work to the  best of my abilities, as  I hope my daughters will do when they start their careers. Luckily for me, I haven’t lost my enthusiasm and passion  for  the camera . I still feel the same  palpitation  on my first  day of shooting that I did when I started off as a child artiste in  Tamil cinema when I was  only 4. I never lost my excitement for acting. The  day I do I will quit.”

There have been many iconic  actresses in Bollywood. What made Sridevi stand out among the legends?

I once asked Kamal Haasan this question. And  he gave me  a befitting reply. “Sridevi was  an amazing learner and  fabulous mimic. She could copy the director down to  the minutest detail. When we worked together  in her earlier films she would copy me too.And that’s how I learnt on the job. By observing  others very carefully.”

 I once remember sitting with  Yash Chopra. Sridevi had just given the performance of a  lifetime in Judaai the  film Boney Kapoor produced for Sridevijust before thet got married and which in my opinion is her best  performance.

Yashji picked  up the phone and dialed Sridevi at the Breach Candy . “Sri, listen  after Judaai,you can’t just be a wife and a mother. You have to continue acting. I already have a script ready for you.”

 Sridevi  plunged  into her role as a real-life mother devoting her time to looking after her two daughter Jahnvi and Khushi.

Ironically she couldn’t live to see her Jahnvi’s debut in Karan Johar’s Dhadak. This is a creepy eerie replay  of  what happened when Arjun Kapoor, Boney’s first-born from his first wife Mona passed away months before seeing her son’s debut in Ishaaqzaade.

But Mona was ill. Sridevi didn’t know a day’s illness.

In my last  conversation with her she joked about her lifestyle and how Boney encouraged her to get wild. “I lead a  very disciplined  life. Boneyji tells me to stop being a saint and enjoy life.”

Life, it seems, had other plans .

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