Why did the lovely Sridevi die just before her daughter Jhanvi’s debut movie release, just like her bête noire, Boney’s first wife Mona, died a few weeks before her son Arjun Kapoor’s debut release? What could the possible connection be — apart from of course the hapless Boney, widowed twice and left with four children to look after and help groom!
Was Mona Kapoor’s regret over her broken home so vast that it hung around and took Sridevi in its wake? Was her hurt at being upstaged by Sridevi in her husband’s life so deep that it ensured Sridevi too didn’t stay around long enough? Or is it to do with Boney’s destiny? So many questions…
Where does one begin looking for answers? So many hearts beat furiously for Sridevi – how then could the heart of India’s heartthrob give up on her in her last moments? And those eyes – those luminous, gorgeous, perfect eyes – were they for real! How can they never sparkle naughtily or deepen romantically again?
I knew Sridevi only as much as every cinema-going Indian knew her. I saw her at several events but met her just once briefly at one of Subbirami Reddy’s star-spangled parties that I was to write about in my then very popular Page 3 column, ‘Hi Society!’ That was around 1998-99 and Boney and Sridevi had been declared an item. She was hanging onto his arm tightly with both hands all through the party, looking very unlike the pulsating, full-of-life presence on screen. Her beautiful eyes conveyed a wariness and stress that was far removed from their vivacity on screen.
I remember wondering what she was so stressed about! Was it public opinion she feared as Boney had walked away from his marriage and children to be with her? Or was she scared he may walk away from her too? Whatever it was, she never once let go her limpet grip on his left arm! And that is how they continued till the next 20 years! In one stroke she gave up movies and devoted herself to Boney and their daughters.
I could never understand how or why she gave up movies…. How could she? Sridevi was born for the silver screen! It was there that she looked most beautiful, most alive; it was there that she was her most beguiling, irresistible, charming self. Sridevi was a great actor – nobody can doubt that! She made acting seem effortless, and that is the greatest achievement of an actor. To her credit, she was a self-made success story, a legend of her own making by her own efforts and talent – apart from the looks God gave her.
It must be very difficult for an icon such as Sridevi to live life normally. The adulation of the fickle millions can make that impossible. She may have quit movies, but the camera and attention never left her. It must be tough for an ethereal beauty to develop wrinkles and grow old gracefully under such a scorching gaze. She continued to nourish her beauty even while she put her career on hold for several years.
Under the constant pressure to live up to their image, celebrities often go under the scalpel several times. And God knows how many diets and exercise regimens Sridevi followed! She ate healthy and lived healthy as per her friends’ accounts. Why then did she die the way she did – unprepared, suddenly, with no warning? She was a caring, loving person, say her workers. Does that count for nothing?
We don’t know what ultimately killed Sridevi. Was it the stress as a celebrity that she lived with or, just one of those freak things that happen? Who knows! All I know is that the gorgeous, vivacious, living Sridevi of the screen died a long time ago; today no doubt she looked beautiful still, but a beauty more of the porcelain variety.
It would have been nice to see a unique beauty like her grow naturally into her own older, even more beautiful self… We would have adored her just as much. Unfortunately we will not be able to witness that now ever…