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Sridevi Was One Of Her Kind!

We all  say good things about the dead.  But Sridevi was  truly special. Her mere presence  could  light up the screen  like no other actress.

 Sridevi started her career as a child actor at  age 4.

“I knew nothing about acting at that age. I’d do  exactly what  the  director would ask me to do. I  think I continued doing that in  my later years,” Sridevionce  told me.

All our conversations were co-ordinated  by  her  devoted  husband Boney Kapoor. It was always  difficult to make Sridevi talk. She was  always an actor, not  a talker.I don’t think she enjoyed talking about herself.  And she was extremely health conscious. No late  nights, no partying. Though she avoided eating beyond her dietery regime Sridevi loved to feed others . I remember when former actress Asin came to stay in  her building Sridevi would prepare and carry tiffins with South Indian goodies for the younger actress.

Sridevi was shy. But once she took to you she was comfortable.She loved having fun and enjoyed going out for meals  and  shopping with her  daughtersJahnvi and Khushi. What made her  very uncomfortable were the gawking crowds. She longed  for privacy and for uninterrupted time with her  precious family.

The  craving for private  time with the family went back to her  childhood when Baby Sridevi spent hours in and  out  of  studios in  Chennai and Hyderabad playing roles when she  should just have been …well, playing.

Her stint as an adult Bollywood star began with Solva Sawan in 1978 which bombed. She was all but written  out of Bollywood for the next three years until she was re-launched in Himatwala in 1981. There was no looking back thereafter.

 Jeetendra who  starred with Sridevi in Himmatwala and a string of hits in  the 1980s   told me  of her selfdiscipline. “Uss ladki mein ek  lagan ttha  ekjunoon tthi. She  was determined  to make it as big in Hindi cinema as she  was in Tamil and Telugu. I’ve never seen a  more hard-working actress.”

 After marriage Sridevi slowed down her career but returned  with a bang in 2012 with English Vinglish.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali a  huge Sridevi fan, remembers his meeting with her  for the  last time. “She came  to my special screening of Padmaavat with her husband Boney Kapoor .She loved my film and said she wanted to work with me.That wasn’t destined to happen. It will remain  a lcuna in  my oeuvre. How could she go so suddenly? Sridevi can’t die. She’s magical. There is  nobody else who can do Hawa hawaai and Kate nahin kat-te the way she can. She had natural-born instincts for  the camera  which she sharpened and  honed over  the years. It is strange to be talking about her in  the past tense. I can’t believe she’s gone.”

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