Remembering the diva
Famous Bollywood actress Sridevi's sudden demise on February 24 at her hotel room in Dubai came as a shock to her fans, family, and colleagues. Sridevi had been staying in the 56-storey luxurious Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel. The Dubai Police, which investigated her death in full-detail, concluded that she died of accidental drowning in her bathtub following bouts of unconsciousness. She had gone to Dubai with her husband and daughters to attend a relative's wedding ceremony. After the wedding, the rest of her family members flew back to Mumbai while Sridevi stayed back in Dubai to attend an auction of her paintings. But, hours before her death, her husband had come back to Dubai on a surprise visit and was scheduled to take his wife out for dinner when Sridevi went inside the bathroom for a quick dip in the bathtub. When she did not come back even after 15 minutes had passed, Boney Kapoor knocked at the door, not receiving any response from her he eventually forced himself in. He witnessed a drowning Sridevi, breathless in the bathtub. She was thereafter rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Very few people were ready to believe that the 54-year-old female superstar of Bollywood who has the credit of acting in over 300 films, many of which were super-hits, passed away so suddenly and in what can be only described as a complete freak accident. The Dubai Police sent her mortal remains for postmortem. Sridevi's husband Boney Kapoor was questioned by the Dubai Police, who eventually let him go. The postmortem report declared that she died of accidental drowning after a bout of unconsciousness. Sridevi was cremated in Mumbai on Wednesday evening with full state honours and her body draped in the national tricolour.
That she meant so much to so many people was revealed appropriately in her unfortunate death. In the 1980s and 1990s when her films routinely became super-hits, she was regarded as someone destined to be a superstar—an outcome of her great looks multiplied by impeccable acting. In order to encash upon her success, filmmakers had started choosing stories keeping Sridevi in mind, with the result that many of her films bore a striking resemblance to one another. Even with an easy storyline, routine dance performances, and songs, her films went on to become hits. There were so many commercially successful films her during this period that people begun expressing their grievance that Sridevi is responsible for the over-commercialisation of Bollywood films. But, as an actor, she knew that success and popularity is the essence of her existence. She also worked in a number of critically-acclaimed films, which too went on to become big successes. Incredibly, her films which were supposed to be art films, too, went on to become big successes. Her stellar performance in Sadma (1983), Nagina (1986), ChaalBaaz (1989), Lamhe (1991), Khuda Gawah (1992), Gumrah (1993), Laadla (1994), and Judaai (1997) was highly appreciated. Her other commercially successful films include Mawaali (1983), Tohfa (1984), Naya Kadam (1984), Maqsad (1984), Masterji (1985), Nazrana (1987), Mr. India (1987), Waqt Ki Awaz (1988), and Chandni (1989). In recent years, she had once again plunged into active filmmaking with films like English Vinglish and Mom. Lately, she was relentlessly trying to introduce her two daughters into the film industry.
Sridevi departed from the real world in film-like circumstances, amid absolute shock, leaving her fans and friends in utter dismay and disbelief. She breathed her last in a luxury hotel room, where she was staying alone for the last two hours of her life when her husband joined her on the fateful evening of February 24. Her life came to a premature end leaving behind a rich legacy of her acting along with the commercial success of her films. She died in Dubai where she also hosts a large fan following. Bollywood celebrities, actors, directors, and producers profusely expressed their grief over Sridevi's demise. She was a recipient of the Padma Shri award and was duly accorded full state honours while being cremated. Her ever-smiling melodramatic face, capable of myriad expressions, however, will linger on in the memory of her fans.