Tale Of Two Timeless Tamilian Tigresses
Vyjanthimala and Sridevi. The two names instantly conjure up images of imperishable beauty and talent. Uncannily both the screen queens were born on the same day.Subhash K Jha examines the eerie similarities between the two deathless divas.
1. Both Vyjanthimala and Sridevi are Tamilians who started young. Sridevi did herfirst film when she was only 4.Vyjanthimala started at age 13 when she played the leading lady. They soon gravitated to Hindi cinema, Vyjanthimala with Bahaar in 1951 which was a remake of the Tamil hit Vaazhkai. Sridevi also made her Hindi debut in Solva Sawan with a remake of a Tamil film 16 Vayathinile.
2. Both the divas’ careers stretched from Chennai to Mumbai and they were guided strictly by a matriarchal figure. If it was Mummy for Sridevi it was Grandmummy for Vyjanthimala.
3. They both quickly came to be recognized for their versatility and dancing prowess. For Vyjanthimala it was Nagin in 1953. For Sridevi it was Nagina in 1985 which turn them into dancing queens of Bollywood.Both Nagin and Nagina were saanp-operas about the heroine’s close affinity to serpents.
4. Vyjanthimala’s most iconic dance number hands-down is Hothon pe aisi baat main dabaa ke chali aayee in Jewel Thief. For Sridevi it was Hawa hawaai in Mr India. The two song-and-dance numbers separated by 20 years were elaborately choreographed songs of more than 8 minutes’ duration that set new standards for choreography in Hindi cinema.
5. Both Vyjanthimala and Sridevi married at the peak of their career. Both Tamilian screen goddesses married Punjabi men. Vyjanthimala never looked back after marriage. Sridevi returned to acting with English Vinglish and Mom before death snatched her away from us.