American rock band Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder took to the Oscar stage to perform for the “In Memoriam” segment and paid a beautiful tribute to those from the film world who had passed away. He sang “Room at the Rop” by late rockstar Tom Petty, who himself exited the world in October 2017.
The 90th Academy Awards’ “In Memoriam” segment paid tribute to legendary Indian actresss Sridevi, who accidentally drowned in a bath tub in Dubai on February 24, and veteran actor-producer Shashi Kapoor, who died in December last year
Vedder sang – “I got a room at the top of the world tonight/I can see everything tonight/I got a room where everyone/Can have a drink and forget those things/That went wrong in their life/I got a room at the top of the world tonight” – as pictures of those who passed away lit up the screen. This included Sir Roger Moore, the famous James Bond actor, and actor-producer Martin Landauer.
Sridevi’s exit from the world, at 54, plunged fans across Asia into shock and sadness.
Sridevi was in Dubai with her filmmaker husband Boney Kapoor and her younger daughter Khushi, attending a family wedding when she accidentally drowned in the hotel tub.
She ruled India’s film industry, better known as Bollywood, for nearly two decades as she starred opposite the top actors of her time. She began her career starting out as a child artiste in 1969.
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. Not that she could afford to give such roles a miss in Bollywood’s hugely male-oriented and misogynist film industry, yet she often managed to steal the show from her leading men.
Shashi Kapoor, Bollywood’s yesteryear heartthrob, was known for his acting skills, his commitment to good cinema and was well-liked by virtually all who knew him. He died in December 2017 after a prolonged illness.
Kapoor belonged to the first family of Bollywood, and like his father and brothers, made a mark.
Prefixes such as legendary do little to explain Kapoor’s charm – the dimples, the mischievous glint in the eye, the innocence, the disarming smile. The many facets of Shashi Kapoor were revealed in Aseem Chhabra’s biography of the man – “Shashi Kapoor: The Householder, the Star”.
Shashi was India’s first international star, according to Chhabra: “He was also, by all counts, the most handsome Hindi film actor of that period – a fact corroborated by almost everyone I’ve spoken to, from Sharmila Tagore to James Ivory.”
Chhabra says Shashi did not believe in the Hindi film industry’s hierarchical system and treated everyone – from a technician and a junior artist to a top star – equally.
Shashi’s commitment to theatre was intense, and he did everything to support good cinema. Oddly he always lost money.