My introduction to you has to be credited to the black and white television set that was the most pride-worthy thing about our drawing room during my childhood. The local cable service provider frequently played songs from ‘Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja’. And I will be honest; ours wasn’t love at first sight.
In 2001 or 2002, I happened to watch ‘Mr. India’. A ten-year-old girl then, I wasn’t bothered about it being one of the first science fiction Hindi films, to be honest. But I could go on and looking at you, as you threw some of your magical and smile and giggled, ‘Kehte Hai Mujhko, Hawa Hawai’. I later knew, they named it iconic. And why forget ‘Kaate Nahi Kat Te’? You, for the first time, painted before my naive eyes how craving for one’s beloved looked like. That was when I truly fell in love with you.
It has taken me some time to discover your best works. From your effortless double role in ‘Chaalbaaz’ to Chandni, which thanks to you, went many notched higher than being just another romantic film, from ‘Lamhe’ which is arguably Yash Chopra’s best film ever to ‘Judaai’, your last film before the voluntary hibernation from films that you took, I’ve more than plenty to tell you why I adore you so much. Alas, you’re gone too soon and I didn’t write this earlier.
In a country where majority of audience obsesses over Hindi films, many wouldn’t know how much volume you added to the Southern school of cinema. Who can forget your winning act a rescued patient of retrogade amnesia in ‘Moondram Pirai’ or ’16 Vayathinile’, which can be easily called an all-time cult in Tamil cinema? Ram Gopal Varma‘s immense fondness for you is known to all. ‘Kshanam Kshanam’ is probably one of Varma’s most high-rated films, and one of your best works in Telugu films as well. I could go on and on about this.
For 15 long years, you kept yourself away from the magic of big screen. We all wondered, how and why! Now I come to realise, you just switched roles. In a world where relationships are fragile and purpose is so often lost, you figured your priorities and devoted your time to what you held dearest; your family.
And when you returned with ‘English Vinglish’, I rejoiced your second innings. In fact, this was a new you. The you who embraced her age, her wisdom and was filled with a hunger for doing the new. Little did we know, the brief race would come to an end with ‘Mom’.
A million times, I’ve wanted to be as beautiful as you. As expressive, graceful, majestic, charming as you. But today, as a part of childhood dies down with you, I want to be as dutiful and as confident a woman that you’ve been. I want to be as fierce as you were with your choices and I want to be as much capable of loving as you were.
Dear Sridevi, against the eyes of ordinary girls, you painted a fairytale. With you leaving us behind, beauty won’t be beauty anymore. But you’ll be beautiful, and we will never love you less.
Just one more woman who wished to be you.