Dear Sridevi - RIP
Men of my age are in a confused state of mind. While they see old age ogling at the doorstep of their lives, they are yet not willing to let go of the youth and childhood. While youth is much closer than what old age appears, youth is a forgone confusion whereas old age is eventuality.
We don’t know if the we should carry on the traditional path of corporate slavery which has been a tried and tested method to make a decent living or jump on the band wagon which seems to have been taken over by people of younger generation.
We don’t know whether to accept that Virat Kohli is the racing fast towards setting up new cricketing records which looked unbreakable not so long ago or keep harping on Sachin stating that he faced much more difficult bowling than Virat can do even in his sleep.
We don’t know if we should still embrace socialism, integral part of India’s political philosophy under which we grew up or accept the fact that for a truly developed democracy we have to embrace capitalism which in the end might mean death nail for our own careers.
We are a confused lot. When we spot a young beautiful with her not so old but equally graceful mother, we don’t know who our object of interest should be. Yes, we do objectify women sometimes. At least we don’t carry the burden of false feminism.
We don’t even know whether to look forward to a Jhanvi Kapoor’s debut who was born when we were pretty close to either side of adulthood or keep being a Sridevi fan who was one of the fantasy girls of our growing up years.
When you get up to the sad news of demise of the fantasy girl of your childhood, reality hits hard. It shakes you that the part of that childhood is soon diminishing and shall be taken over by something which is surely not childhood.
Beautiful. Graceful. Talented. Excellent dancer. Bold. Rebel. Successful.
Sridevi was everything any woman would like to be. If desires of women could be personified, it would be hard to find a better example. If sheer volume of films spanned across multiple languages is not enough to prove her worth, one should look at the variety of roles she has done.
In an age when women were considered to be, at least in commercial cinema, were nothing but a flower pot showcasing traditional values and orthodoxy expected out of a women in out culture, she did break the shackles.
Sadma was one of the best examples. And yes, if your argument is that it was close to being an art movie and not truly commercial movie, try arguing against her epic roles in “Nageena” and “Nigahein”. Especially “Nageena”. “Nigahein” was probably as disappointing sequel to a masterclass as Rohit Sharma’s performance is in tests after hopes people have from him.
I still remember stories of how Sridev’s eyes actually turned blue after she had to put on blue contact lenses. It isn’t easy to overcome acting, screen presence, voice and villainy of late Amrish Puri but she did that with aplomb.
Then there was Karma. If a movie has bearded Naseeruddin shah, Jackie Shroff with a moustache, Dara Singh with his shirt always unbuttoned and Anil Kapoor, just having a bald Anumpam Kher was never going to do away the horrors of excessive man-hair trauma. One needed an “oomph” factor. Sridevi overcame them all on her alone.
To me, and I know many more out there will agree, her most memorable performance was in Boney Kapoor’s all time great Mr India. Her beauty once again helped us overcome the trauma of man-bear Anil Kapoor and sheer fear of probably one of the scariest Bollywood villain ever - Mogambo.
The cherry on the cake was the song Kaate nahi Kat-te.
In case you have been living in cages or believe that combination of Carter Cruise, Sunny Leone and Mia Khalifa can generate heat strong enough to give competition to global warming, do think again. Sridevi in this song was hotter than anything you would’ve ever seen. For the generation crazy about defining beauty as size zero, you would realise that for a women to look bootylicious, anorexia isn’t a solution for sure.
A man with a gadget which makes him invisible, a reporter meeting him in a location which had nothing but straw and stormy night - all the formula of a cheesy Bollywood song. Yet, what we got was classy. And when you have the best ever Kishore Kumar and debutant with a mellifluous voice in Alisha Chinoy, nothing but excellence could’ve been expected.
Everything in the song was symbolic of love, lust and the grey area between these two.
Note the colour of Sari - blue. Get the hint.
Note the choreography - such free flowing steps. Get the hint.
Note the rain and storm - both actors losing control. Get the hint.
Note her figure - she has surely left being Boney to her then would husband. Get the hint.
Note the lyrics. Get the hint.
Yet, nothing is explicit. Everything implicitly implies that love is nothing but a manifestation of lust. Watch the part where she is lying on her face and Anil Kapoor is slowly moving piece of straw from her to down her back. Or the part where she is lying on her back and moving the straw piece down. Every millimetre of distance that straw covers is a lesson of KS in itself.
Watch the expressions. Feel them. I’ve heard that women can fake orgasm but Sridevi could really act them and act them bloody well, apart from everything else she could do.
There was nothing she could not do on screen.
Until few hours back.
Now that she is in a different world, I am surely she would be looking back at a life which was full of everything one could hope for. Plus she has left something behind not many do.
Being an ardent fan, all I can say is what was said in that song again and again - I love you. I am sure lot of people reading this shall be repeating this with me.