Sridevi: Bollywood's first female superstar

Sridevi: Bollywood's first female superstar

February 1, 2019

Iconic actress made it in male-dominated Bollywood with hit after hit in a career spanning five decades.

    Sridevi, who died in Dubai of heart attack, was dubbed Bollywood’s first female superstar, appearing in a string of blockbuster hit films, including Chandni, Mr India, Sadma, Mawali and Tohfa.

    Born Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, she started acting at the age of four, appearing in several Tamil-language films in the 1960s and 1970s, and eventually dropping out of school for a career in the movies. Her father, who was a lawyer, hired private tutors for her education at home.

    Sridevi proved her talent across languages, from Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi films, and gave hit after hit in a career spanning five decades.

    “Sridevi was renowned for her naturalistic acting abilities, her comic timing, and her graceful dancing skills. She was among the few female stars in Hindi cinema who could steer a movie’s commercial fate on her own merit,” wrote Nandini Ramnath in website.

    She made her Bollywood debut in 1979 with Solva Sawan (16th spring), but it was in 1983, with Balu Mahendra’s Sadma (Shock) that she made her mark in the Hindi film industry.

    The year, she also acted with Jeetendra in K Raghavendra Rao’s blockbuster Himmatwala (The courageous one), cementing her place as one of Bollywood’s top actresses.

    Through the 1980s and 1990s, she charmed audiences in female-centric films such as Chandni (Moonlight) and Lamhe (Moments), drawing praise for her comic timing in Chaalbaaz (Trickster) and Shekhar Kapur’s Mr India, playing feisty characters in contrast to the traditionally coy Bollywood heroine.

    Sridevi performed alongside leading men such as Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth.

    She took a break from films soon after she married producer Boney Kapoor in 1996.

    A noticeably leaner Sridevi made a successful return to the big screen 15 years later in Gauri Shinde’s English Vinglish (2012), playing a housewife taking English-language lessons. Her last screen appearance was in Mom (2017), as a mother avenging her daughter’s rape.

    Sridevi was nominated for 10 Filmfare Awards and won five. The government of India awarded her Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour, in 2013.

    The actress was married to Boney Kapoor – a leading Bollywood producer – with whom she had two daughters named Jhanvi and Khushi.

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