“What strength, what grit, what resilience must have gone into rising to superstardom in rancidly misogynist 80s Indian cinema. To persist through years of playing arm candy for men you knew you could act off the screen given the chance. Powerhouse,” this comment on Facebook by Faiza Sultan Khan, editorial director at Bloomsbury India, sums up the greatness of Sridevi, India’s heartthrob who passed away on February 24.
Sridevi’s exit from this world was not only too early – at 54 – but sudden, plunging a nation full of fans into shock and sadness. Sridevi was in Dubai with her filmmaker husband Boney Kapoor and her younger daughter Khushi, when she passed away from a heart attack.
Sridevi ruled India’s film industry, better known as Bollywood, for nearly three decades as she starred opposite the top actors of her time.
The iconic actress began her career early – starting out as a child artiste in 1969 doing regional cinema for a while in southern India. She made her debut in Bollywood, which is based in the north, with “Solva Sawan” in 1979.
Sridevi was among India’s few actresses who could carry a film on her shoulders and didn’t just survive appearing in fluffy roles opposite male superstars. Even when paired with male superstars of her day, Sridevi often stole the show and took top billing.
She starred in more than 300 films in her nearly five-decade career. She will be best remembered for her timeless classics such as “Mr India”, “Chandni”, “Chaalbaaz” and “Sadma.” Even her comeback film after a long hiatus, “English Vinglish”, was a hit with critics and fans.
After the release of “Mom” last year, Sridevi said she felt her career was just taking off.