India’s legendary actress Sridevi passes away in Dubai

The mortal remains of India’s legendary actress Sridevi, who passed away after suffering cardiac arrest in a bathroom at Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai late on Saturday, are likely to be flown home late on Monday, according to reports by local media.

Toxicology reports are awaited and forensic officials in Dubai said they cannot tell when the reports will be ready.

Officials said on Sunday that since Sridevi is a high-profile personality, they cannot rush through the inquisition or the post-mortem procedures.

Sridevi  was found dead in the bathtub of the hotel where her family was staying after attending the wedding ceremony of her nephew and Bollywood actor Mohit Marwah in Ras Al Khaimah.

According to a source, her husband Boney Kapoor tried to revive her but failed. He then called the police around 9 pm. Indian consulate confirmed that she was brought dead to Rashid Hospital.

‘Millions of fans heartbroken’

Leaders and film personalities across India mourned the loss of the versatile actresses who started her career at the age of four.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said she was a veteran of the film industry, whose long career included diverse roles and memorable performances.

President Ram Nath Kovind said she had left millions of fans heartbroken. Her performances in films such as Moondram Pirai,
Lamhe and English Vinglish remain an inspiration for other actors, he said.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor quoted Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus. “Let your presence ring out like a bell into the night. And if the earthly no longer knows your name, whisper to the silent earth: I am flowing. To the flashing water say: I am,” he tweeted.

Actor Kamal Hassan tweeted he had watched Sridevi’s life from an adolescent teenager to the magnificent lady she became. Her stardom was well deserved.

“Many happy moments with her flash through my mind including the last time I met her. Sadma‘s lullaby (watch the video) haunts me now,”he said referring to a Yesudas song in the Hindi version of the Tamil film Moondram Pirai in which he acted with her.

Actor Rajnikanth said he was shocked and very disturbed by the news of Sridevi’s passing away. He said he lost a dear friend and the industry has lost a true legend.

Actor Anupam Kher described her as one of the most brilliant, elegant and talented actresses ever, the queen of Indian cinema.

Telugu actor Venkatesh said there was only one Sridevi and she was unparalleled.

Priyanka Chopra expressed her condolences “to everyone who loved Sridevi”. She described the actress’ death as a “dark day”.

“Absolutely devastated to hear about the passing of Sridevi. What a dark black terrible moment in time. Gutted,” Nimrat Kaur said.

Sushmita Sen said she was  “in shock…can’t stop crying.”

Singer Adnan Sami called her an incredible artiste and a beautiful human being.

Film critic Rajeev Masand said he had never known anyone who was so painfully shy, so quiet off screen, who just transformed into a force of nature when the cameras came on. She was an interviewer’s nightmare, but the movie-buff’s dream, he said.

Preity zinta described Sridevi as her all time favourite.

Began career as child artist

Sridevi — originally named Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan — was born in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, on 13 August 1963 to Tamil father Ayyapan and Telugu mother Rajeswari. Her father was a lawyer.

Sridevi started her film career as a child artist in a devotional Tamil film Thunaivan at the age of four. She played little Lord Murugan in the Malayalam devotional film Kumarasambhavam. Her performance in Poompatta (Butterfly-1971) in Malayalam won her the Kerala State Film Award for Best Child Artist. Sridevi got her first adult role at the age of 13 in K  Balachander’s Tamil film Moondru Mudichu (1976) in which Kamal Hassan and Rajnikanth played lead roles. 16 Vayathinilie, a serious Tamil film directed by P Bharatiraja depicting rural life, catapulted her to fame.

But success never went into her head. She always came to the film sets ahead of the schedule to rehearse for perfection. With hard work and dedication, Sridevi soon established herself as one of the leading actresses in Tamil and Telugu film industry.

Although Sridevi achieved commercial success and superstar status later after moving to Bollywood, she learned the fine lessons of acting by working with great directors and actors in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada films.

Her debut film in Hindi was Solva Sawan (1978). She never looked back after that. While Sridevi and Kamal Hassan played the romantic pair in many successful south Indian films, it was the Jitendra-Sridevi pair that produced some of the hit films in Bollywood like Himmatwala (1983), Mawaali (1983), Tohfa (1984), and Maqsad (1984), to name a few.  She also received critical acclaim for her performance in Sadma (1983), Nagina (1986), ChaalBaaz (1989), Lamhe (1991), Khuda Gawah (1992), Gumrah (1993), Laadla (1994) and Judaai (1997).

Sridevi won five Filmfare Awards and has been nominated ten times. She was also voted ‘India’s Greatest Actress in 100 Years’ in a CNN-IBN national poll conducted in 2013 on the occasion of the centenary of Indian cinema.

In 2012, Sridevi returned to films after a 15-year-long break with English Vinglish. In 2013, the Government of India awarded her Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour.

Sridevi’s last film released was Mom in 2017 and her yet-to-be-released film is Zero.