by Rizwan Asad & Shaheen Raaj
Sridevi Kapoor, born as Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan, was an Indian actress & film producer who starred in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malyalam & Kannada films too.
Sridevi, was regarded as Hindi cinema’s 1st ever female superstar, she was also the recipient of 2 Filmfare Awards & also 3 Filmfare Awards (South). Besides Sridevi is also considered to be one of the most popular actresses of Indian Cinema.
Sridevi had made her debut as child artiste with the 1967 Tamil film Kandan Karunai at the age of 4, and started her acting career in lead role as a child artiste with M. A. Thirumugam’s 1969 devotional Tamil film Thunaivan and continued to act as a child artiste in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam & Kannada films too.
Sridevi made her Bollywood debut as a child artiste in Rani Mera Naam in the year 1972 and played her 1st ever adult role at the age of 13 with the Tamil film Moondru Mudichu in the year 1976.
Sridevi established herself as one of the leading actresses of Tamil & Telugu cinema, with leading roles in 16 Vayathinile in the year 1977, Sigappu Rojakkal in the year 1978, Varumavin Niram Sivappu in the year 1980, Meendum Kokila in the year 1981, Premabhishekam in the year 1981, Moodram Pirai in the year 1982, Aakhar Poratam in the year 1988, Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari in the year 1990 & above all Kshana Kshanam in the year 1991.
Sridevi’s 1st ever starring role in Hindi Cinema came with the 1979 drama film Solva Sawan, a remake of her own Tamil film 16 Vyathinile (1977) and gained wide attention with the 1983 production Himmatwala. She went on to appear in a series of commercially successful films, including Mawaali in the year 1983, Tohfa in the year 1984, Naya Kadam in the year 1984, Maqsad in the year 1984, Masterji in the year 1985, Nazrana in the year 1987, Mr. India in the year 1987, Waqt Ki Aawaz in the year 1988 & Chandani in the year 1989.
Sridevi also received praise for such films as Sadma in the year 1983, Nagina in the year 1986, Chaalbaaz in the year 1989, Lamhe in the year 1991 & Khuda Gawah in the year 1992, and in all the last mentioned 3 movies Sridevi had double roles, Gumrah in the year 1993, Laadla in the year 1994 & Judaai in the year 1997.
Sridevi then followed it up with the role of the titular protagonist in her 1st ever role in the small screen sitcom Mailini Iyer in the year 2004 & 2005. Sridevi then took a break and returned to film acting in the year 2012 with the successful comedy drama English Vinglish. Later on Sridevi starred in her 300th film role in the 2017 thriller Mom. She earned critical acclaim for her performances in both the films.
In the year 2013, the Government of India awarded Sridevi with Padmashree, the country’s 4th highest civilian accolade for her contributions to the entertainment industry.
Honorary awards were also conferred on Sridevi by the State Governments of Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh & Kerala. Sridevi was also voted as “India’s Greatest Actress in 100 Years” in a CNN – IBN national poll conducted in the year 2013 on the occasion of the Centenary of Indian cinema.
Sridevi was married to film producer Boney Kapoor, with whom she had 2 children. Although Sridevi was earlier alleged to have tied the knot with Mithun Chakraborty whose real name was Rana Rez Chakraborty, who had himself made a confession of his marriage to Sridevi to yours truly namely Shaheen Raaj.
A little more detailed sneak peek into Sridevi’s early life will not be out of place at this juncture. Sridevi was born in Sivakasi, Madras, now Chennai, state on 13th Aug, 1963 to Ayyapan & Rajeshwaramma. Her father was from Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, a lawyer by profession. Sridevi’s mother, Rajeshwaramma, belonged to a Reddy family from Tirupati, Andra Pradesh.
In an earlier interview, Sridevi had mentioned that her mother tongue was, unlike what the popular media has claimed, Telugu. She had a sister & 2 stepbrothers. Sridevi was always accompanied by her mother Rajeshwaramma or by her sister Srilatha to the film sets during the shooting of her films between the years 1972 till the year 1993. One Sanjay Ramaswamy was married to her sister Srilatha since the year 1989.
Sridevi’s father died in the year 1991, while she was shooting for her film Lamhe. Her mother died in the year 1996, as a result of the complications suffered from an operation that she underwent in the year 1995 on a brain tumor at the Memorial Sloan Ketterin Cancer Center in New York City.
In fact the neurosurgeon had operated Rajeshwaramma on the wrong side of the brain thereby destroying her vital tissues of vision & recent memory. This was widely reported in US media at that time which then led to a successful court battle & prompted the then President Bill Clinton’s proposal of a program for hospitals to disclose their medical malpractices & errors.
Sridevi married producer Boney Kapoor in the year 1996. The couple have 2 daughters, Janhvi who was born in the year 1997 & Khushi who was born in the year 2000. Sridevi was brought up as a total vegetarian.
Sridevi had started her career as a child actor at the age of 4 in a Tamil movie Kandan Karunai in the year 1967. Subsequently, Sridevi played the role of a young Muruga in a film named Thunaivan.
In fact Sridevi had made her debut in Tollywood as a child artiste with the 1970 Telugu film Maa Nanna Nirdoshi. Baby Sridevi’s performance in Poompatta in the year 1971 in Malayalam had won her the Kerala State Film Award for “Best Child Artistec”.
That apart Kandan Karunai in the year 1967, Nam Naadu in the year 1969, Prarthanai in the year 1970, Babu in the year 1971, Badi Panthulu in the year 1972, Bala Bharatam in the year 1972, Vasantha Maaligai in the year 1972 & Bhakta Kumbara in the year 1974 are the most notable films of her career as a child artiste.
In the year 1972, Sridevi had debuted as a child artiste in Bollywood with Rani Mera Naam directed by H. S. R. Das. Then Sridevi also did Julie, where she played a younger sister to the main protagonist Lakshmi, another popular South Indian actress. Sridevi had also acted with Jayalalitha in Thirumangalyam, Kandan Karunai & Adi Parashakti.
In the year 1976, Sridevi had her 1st ever leading role in the Tamil film Mundru Mudichu which was directed by a popular director namely K. Balachasnder. Sridevi then followed it up with a number of films with South Indian Superstars namely Kamal Haasan & Rajnikanth.
Sridevi’s 1st ever release of 1977 was Gayathri, followed by Kavikkuyil & 16 Vayathinili, where she played the role of a young girl who is caught between her 2 lovers. She also starred in the movie’s Telugu remake Padaharella Vayasu in 1978.
Sridevi’s subsequent notable films included Bharati Raja’s Sigappu Rojakkal, S. P. Muturaman’s Priya Karthika Deepam, Johnny, Varumayin Niram Sivappu & Akali Rajyam.
Sridevi also acted with N. T. Rama Rao in Bobbili Puli, Justice Chowdhary & Aatagadu. Then she had also acted alongside Sivaji Ganesan in Sandhippu, Kavari Mann & Pilot Prem Nath.
Sridevi made her debut as a child artiste in Kannada movies with Bhakta Kumbara in the year 1974 directed by Hunsur Krishnamurthy. Her other films as a child artiste in Kannada films included Bala Bharatam & Yashoda Krishna. She was also a part of Hennu Samsarada Kannu in the year 1975, directed by A. V. Sheshagiri Rao.
Then Sridevi also acted opposite Ambarish in Priya in the year 1978, produced by S. P. Muthurraman. She made her debut in Malayalam films with Kumara Sambhava in the year 1969 as a child actor, followed by I. V. Sasi’s Abhinandanam.
Besides Sridevi’s other notable films as the lead heroine in Malayalam were Thulavarsham, directed by N. Sankaran Nair in the year 1976 & M. Masthan’s Kuttavum Shikshayum a remake of the Tamil film Pennai Nambungal with Kamal Haasan starring opposite her. Sridevi was next seen in the Malayalam Satyawan Savithri.
In the year 1981, Sridevi starred in the Tamil film Meendam Kokila for which she bagged the Filmfare “Best Actress” award – Tamil. In the year 1982, Sridevi acted in Moondram Pirai playing a woman suffering from amnesia and went on to win the Tamil Nadu State award for “Best Actress”. She was paired with Kamal Hasan in 27 films across varied languages.
Sridevi’s notable Telugu films include Konda Veeti Simham, Kshana Kshanam, Vetagadu, Sardar Paparayudu & Bobbili Puli. With A. Nageshwar Rao, she appeared in movies such as Mudulla Koduku, Premabhishekam, Bangaru Kanuka & Premakanuka as well as with Krishna in Kanchu Kagada, Kalavari Samsaram,, Krishaavatharam, Burripalem Bolludu, Khaidi Rudrayya.
Sridevi acted with Cheeranjeevi in Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari, S. P. Parasuram. Her performance in the 1992 Ram Gopal Verma directed Kshana Kshanam opposite Venkatesh, won her the Filmfare Award for “Best Actress” – Telugu & Andhra Pradesh’s Nandi award for “Best Actress”.
Sridevi had made her debut as a heroine in Hindi films in Solva Sawan in the year 1979. 4 years later she was signed to star opposite Jeetendra in Himmatwala. The film was released in the year 1983 and became one of the biggest blockbusters of the year. The film established Sridevi in Bollywood and earned her the famous sobriquet of “Thunder Thighs”.
In fact Sridevi’s dance number “Nainon Mein Sapna, Sapno Mein Sajna” became a rage with rediff stating that “the water pots may have dominated most frames in “Nainon Mein Sapna, Sapno Mein Sajna”, but it was Sridevi’s bejewelled outfits & headgears that stole the show”. The following year Tohfa was released and it turned out to be the biggest hit of the year 1984.
The film established Sridevi as one of the leading actresses of Bollywood, with the Filmfare magazine declaring her as “Unquestionably #.1” on their cover.
The pair of Jeetendra & Sridevi did 16 films together of which was Himmatwala in the year 1983, Jaani Dost in the year 1983, Justice Chaudary in the year 1983), Mawaali in the year 1983, Akalmand in the year 1984, Tohfa in the year 1984, Balidaan in the year 1985, Aulad in the year 1987, Suhagan in the year 1986, Ghar Sansar in the year 1986, Dharm Adhikari in the year 1986, Sone Pe Suhaga in the year 1988 were highly successful but Aag Aur Shola in the year 1986, Himmat in the year 1987, Sarfarosh in the year 1985 were total flops.
Then Sadma released in the year 1983, and brought Sridevi critical acclaim. A remake of her Tamil super hit film Moondram Pirai, in fact Sadma is included in iDiva’s list of “10 Must Watch Movies That Weren’t Blockbusters”. She also acted with A. Nageshwar Rao’s son Nagarjuna in films like Aakhari Porattam, Govinda Govinda & Khudah Gawah. She has played heroine to both He – man or Garam Dharam Dhaermendra, as he was most popularly known, & even his son Sunny Deol.
Sridevi’s performance as a child woman suffering from amnesia was called by Indian Express as “a milestone in her illustrious career”. Sridevi also featured in the Midday list of “Challenging Roles played by Bollywood Actors” describing her act in the film as “her best performance ever”.
In the year 2012, Adil Hussein, Sridevi’s co – star in English Vinglish revealed that he became a fan of the actress after watching her in Sadma. The Sridevi – Kamal Hasan pair also appeared on the CNN – IBN’s 2012 list of “Greatest Romantic Couples on Celluloid”. The film won Sridevi her 1st ever Filmfare nomination for “Best Actress”.
Sridevi even had a successful pairing with Rajesh Khanna in films such as Naya Kadam in the year 1984, Maqsad in the year 1984, Masterji in the year 1985 & Nazrana in the year 1987.
In the year 1986, came the snake fantasy Nagina which saw Sridevi play an “ichhadhaari naagin” or a shape shiftimg woman. The film turned out to be the 2nd biggest blockbuster of that year, with trade magazine Box Office India stating that Sridevi remained “the undisputed #1”. It was also named one of the “Best Snake Fantasy Films” by Yahoo. In fact Times of India ranked Nagina as one of the “Top 10 Snake Films of Hindi Cinema”. in fact Sridevi’s climax dance number “Main Teri Dushman, Dushman Tu Mera – Main Naagin Tu Sapera” also remains one of the “Best Snake Dances in Bollywood with Desi Hits calling it “one of Sridevi’s most iconic dance numbers…that still gives fans goose bumps” and iDiva describing it as “the stuff of movie legends”.
Besides Nagina, the year 1986 also saw Sridevi giving Box – Office turnstiles hits in Subhash Ghai’s multi – starrer Karma & Feroze Khan’s Jaanbaaz. According to CNN – IBN’s Bollywood Blockbusters, “Sridevi’s popularity grew so much that despite having a guest appearance in Jaanbaaz, she completely overshadowed the film’s lead heroine Dimple Kapadia”.
Sridevi followed up the success of Nagina by playing a goofy crime journalist in the 1987 film Mr. India, described by Rediff as “one of the most iconic films of its time”. Directed by Shekhar Kapur, it became one of the highest grossing hits of the year and also found a place in Hindustan Times’ list of “Top 10 Patriotic Films of Hindi Cinema”. While the trade magazines famously joked that the film should have been named as nothing else but Miss. India, Rediff also stated that “Sridevi was a complete show stealer in the film”.
In fact Sridevi’s imitation of Charlie Chaplin in the film was described by The Times of India as “the most hilarious act Sridevi has ever done”. Rediff also featured Sridevi in its list of “Super Six Comic Heroines” stating that “her mobile face expressions could give Jim Carrey (Hollywood’s most popular comedian) sleepless nights” and that “her biggest plus point is her ability to be completely uninhibited in front of the camera”.
In fact The dance number “Hawa Hawai”, cited by The Timers of India as “one of the most unforgettable numbers of Sridevi”, also became a popular nickname for the actress. Besides comedy, Sridevi featured in the video for the song “Kaate Nahin Kat Te Yeh Din Yeh Raat”; Filmfare described Sridevi as “truly a goddess in a blue sari”. Rediff also featured the song in its list of “Top 25 Sari Moments” praising Sridevi’s “ability to look erotic even when she’s covered from head to toe”.
Besides Box Office India stated that with the success of Mr. India, Sridevi “continued her domination” over her contemporaries Jaya Prada & Meenakshi Sheshadri too.
In 1989 came Chaalbaaz, which had Sridevi in a double role, playing twin sisters separated at birth. Filmfare ranked her performance as 4th in its list of “80 Iconic Performances of Hindi Cinema”, stating 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 & even South’s superstar Rajnikant too look like sidekicks in the film”.
The Times of India article “Bollywood’s Hit Double Roles” wrote, “Sridevi’s performance rocked the Box Office Turnstiles”. Rediff featured the film in its countdown of “25 Best Double Roles in Bollywood” saying “What you don’t realize until you have seen Chaalbaaz is just how incredible Sridevi is at depicting both ends of the spectrum”, and that the film “cemented her position as an actress with a killer comic timing”.
Later on Speaking to The Indian Express about Sridevi’s act in Chaalbaaz, the film’s director Pankaj Parashar had said “Sridevi proved her range with the movie and after that she got lots of offers which saw her in a double role”. Her slapstick rain dance “Na Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai” became more successful with The Times of India describing it as a “Sridevi classic where she simply looked wow with her chirpy expressions & rain drops kissing her cheeks”. The film won Sridevi her 1st ever Filmfare Award for “Best Actress” in Hindi films.
The same year also saw the release of the Yash Chopra romantic saga Chandani, with Sridevi playing the title role. The film emerged as one of the biggest blockbusters of the year 1989. Cited by The Times of India as “one of the most watched films of Indian cinema”, the film also reaffirmed Sridevi’s position as the top female star of the 1980’s.
While she topped the Hindustan Times list of Yash Chopra’s “Top 5 Heroines”, CNN – IBN also ranked her 1st ever on a similar list, saying “Yash Chopra immortalized Sridevi as the perfect Chandni”. India Today & NDTV also included her in such lists, stating that the film established Sridevi “as the nation’s sweetheart”. The Tribune wrote, “Leena Daru scored a winner again when she created the “Chandni Look” for Sridevi.
Every street corner sold the salwar – kameez & dupatta that gave the heroine a refreshingly understated look, rarely seen on the Indian screen”, Sridevi’s dance number “Mere Hathon Mein Nau Nau Choodiyan Thoda Thairo Sajan Majbooriyan Hai” also proved popular with the audiences, and she also lent her voice to the film’s most popular title – track. Sridevi garnered Filmfare “Best Actress” nominations for both Chandani & Chaalbaaz in the year 1989, and winning with Chaalbaaz.