D, the great leveller, is the only constant in life. Its scythe has not spared Sridevi this time. She died on February 24th at the age of 54 while she was on a visit to Dubai with her family. Her passing away will leave a void which it will be difficult to fill not only in Mumbai but in the south of India also. She was expected to be in our midst in the near future but fate has willed otherwise.
Sridevi started her career as a child artist in tamil films. She belongs to that tradition of talented actresses who joined the silver screen in Mumbai from the south. In this connection, B.Saroja Devi and Vyjayanthimala come to mind. Sridevi played a variety of roles in many films which were appreciated by audiences across the world. On a personal note, I remember watching her shooting opposite Jeetendra in Mawali (1983) on the premises of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute where I was working.
In the course of her career, she starred in about 275 films. Many of them were hits at the Box Office. Her roles in MR India, Lamhe, Khuda Ghawa, Sadma, Nagin, Tohfa and Judaai cannot be erased from the tablets of my memory. In Mom, she appears as a senior actress and in English Vinglish, she gained our sympathy as one of the many persons who have to grapple with the intricacies of the English language in a foreign country.
She was rewarded with the 37th prestigious Filmfare Best Actress Award. In 2013 the Indian government conferred the Padma Shri Award on her.
Though she has departed on tiptoe, Sridevi has her mark on the Hindi, Kannada and Tamil cinema. Generations to come will definitely remember this talented and versatile actress and dancer. Another star of the film industry in India has stopped shining. Sridevi is mourned not only in India but across the diaspora. The film industry will not be the same without her. I am grateful to her, like many other persons of my generation, for the memorable moments she enabled me to spend in cinema halls in Mauritius and abroad.
May the Almighty grant her peace wherever she is.