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India mourns legendary actress Sridevi's passing away at 54

Lamat R Hasan

Asia News Network

New Delhi  /  Mon, February 26, 2018  /  04:32 pm
India mourns legendary actress Sridevi's passing away at 54

Indian Bollywood actress Sridevi poses for a photograph during a promotional event in Mumbai on late December 12, 2017. (AFP/File)

India's legendary actress Sridevi's exit from the world is not only early – at 54 – but sudden, plunging a nation full of fans into shock and sadness.

“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 the 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, attending a family wedding when she suffered a cardiac arrest.

Sridevi, who ruled India's film industry, better known as Bollywood, for nearly two decades as she starred opposite the top actors of her time.

Read also: Bollywood star Sridevi dies of heart attack: PTI

She began her career early – starting out as a child artiste in 1969. She did regional cinema for a while in southern India, and marking her arrival as a leading lady in movies made in southern India in 1976. 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. 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.

She did more than 300 films in her nearly five-decade career. While she will be best remembered for her timeless classics “Mr India”, “Chandni”, “Chaalbaaz” and “Sadma”, her comeback film five years ago after a long hiatus, “English Vinglish”, was a hit with critics and fans.

She let the world know with her effortless acting that she was clearly among India's best. After the release of “Mom” last year, Sridevi said she felt her career was just taking off. Unfortunately that
was not to be.

All her fans can now do is wait for the release of her last film “Zero”, and hear that immortal song featuring her on repeat - “Hawa Hawai” - roughly translated as “I will vanish like the wind”.