A Cinematic End to the Empress of Cinema - "Talent ridden by torment" ?
Another fine actor is gone; another talented performer is gone - some say cardiac arrest, others say it is the amount of cosmetic surgeries and drug cocktails, yet others make claims of extreme diets and exercise; and now forensic reports reveal that investigations are underway since the cause of death was drowning. The South Indian bombshell, the Hawa Hawaii girl, the Chandni of Hindi Cinema, the first ever female superstar who ruled the roost in Bollywood after very humble beginnings; who dictated how her career would pan out, Sridevi (Shree Amma Yanger) passed away on Saturday, February 24, 2018 in her hotel room in Dubai. The Dubai police are still investigating the matter, since medical forensic reports are revealing that Sridevi was, in fact, unconscious during the time of drowning in her bathtub. According to reports doing the rounds, Sridevi was allegedly readying herself for surprise dinner date with her husband Boney Kapoor, before she suffered a cardiac arrest in the bathroom of her hotel room. The report claims that Boney, who had returned from Mumbai, went to her room at around 5.30 pm to allegedly “surprise” her with dinner. It was reportedly while getting ready for the date that the actress suffered a cardiac arrest and was discovered 15 minutes later lying motionless in the bath tub by her husband, who tried to revive her. On not being able to do so, Boney allegedly called a friend and later informed the police.The actress was declared dead following the arrival of the police and paramedics on the site.
Social media is rife with #RIP comments, everyone claiming she was too young to die, and how beautiful she was even till her dying day. What is really sad is that even in death, media, her fans, and much of society just allude to everything that was superficial about her.
Age ? Really? Was she really 54 ? Was she older ? How does it matter ?
Beauty ? Was that natural? When everything from the rhinoplasty, to liposuction to lip-fillers and repeated botox, is used to shape one's physical appearance, is it really beauty, ask some skeptics? Again, how does it matter ?
It mattered to Sridevi, as it possibly does to every single actor that has ever been in the glamor and limelight and has been bitten by the glamor bug. The media and public frenzy about her age and looks, is testament to the fact that she was just that and that she was justified in maintaining that youthful appearance at any cost, since it validated her existence.
"The need to be desired by everyone, to be held in awe is so great that it torments the most popular performers, the most talented ones..." - Mahima
"The need to be desired by everyone, to be held in awe is so great that it torments the most popular performers, the most talented ones..." the late Mahima, used to say when she spoke of the sad ends to the most amazing performers like Michael Jackson, Prince, Meena Kumari, etc. There is no denying the volcano of talent that Sridevi was, as a performer, but just as any other struggling actor, she possibly had to endure the casting couch, compromising roles, and everything else, which no one else will talk about, and she was not accepted as a Hindi film heroine, despite several attempts by South Indian Filmmaker God Fathers who poured money in to producing movies for her, till she went under the knife, to lose the "thunder thighs" tag and she corrected her "football nose" as it was referred to, during that time or till she underwent skin lightening to "fit in" and contend with actresses many years her junior in Hindi Film Industry. Again, the superficial nature of the film industry, makers and audience alike, is to blame for the torment that she must have put herself through to live up to the ideal, young, doe-eyed (blepharoplasty), lanky lass look that brought on all the adulation, like in the "kaate nahin kat te " song of Mr. India, or the "abbani teeyani debba ..from Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari..". The fact of the matter remains that, somewhere along the road, this mattered more to her, than her own talent, her real personality. Likenesses can be drawn with several other such talented artistes, who went through cosmetic procedures, took anti aging meds, and strived for the picture perfect look, like the legendary showman Michael Jackson himself. Imagine the conflict between the heart and mind of such artistes and performers like Sridevi herself where they are artistes at heart, and the mind pushes them to succumb to the pressures and demands of "looking ageless and picture perfect" ? The "n" number of linkups, affairs and relationships of actresses like Sridevi, Rekha etc. during their hey days, could they have stemmed from the sense of "wanting to be desired and accepted for what they stood for?" or could they have been to get a sense of validation ? or could they just have been the hardening of their personas to hide the fragile egos they nurtured? We will never know. Like MJ, Prince, Chris Cornell, did Sridevi too die of an overdose ? Was she the victim of some personal angst ? Only time will tell or perhaps we will never know. But one thing is for certain, talent in this case was haunted by torment.
Torment unleashed by the system, by society and by perhaps, herself.
While we celebrate her journey through the films, at Media Mahima, we celebrate the talent, and acknowledge the torment and consciously stay away from referring to her as the young, nubile, beautiful actress, for the sole reason that we believe that she would find peace in the adulation we would shower upon her for the great acting she did in "Moonram Pirai", for the funny gestures brought into "Heroiney" dancing, the way she "made love to the camera" making everyone that watched her love her, the uninhibited professional that she was, who was so resilient and persistent making her career a #1 priority. Hats off to you, Sridevi Ma'am. We understand !