The sudden death of Sridevi at 54 has left South Asia’s more than a billion and a half people in shock. An entire generation of South Asians grew in the mesmerizing performances of the Bollywood legend in her 300 plus appearances on the big screen. As soon as the news was out of Dubai, where she had gone to attend the wedding of a relative, it became a breaking news not just in India but across the world. The Twitter and other social media platforms were taken by storm, with an unprecedented outpouring of grief and sympathy for her family.
Bollywood, the world’s largest film industry, came to a standstill as the news spread like a jungle fire. Actor Akshay Kumar, Rishi Kapoor and scores of other Bollywood stars paid glowing tributes to the superstar.
Indian business magnate Anil Ambani, who is a friend of the Kapoor family, offered his private jet to Boney Kapoor, late Sridevi’s husband, to bring her body back to India. Rishi Kapoor, who appeared as a hero with Sridevi in many movies, tweeted how the legend had become a “body”.
“How has Sridevi all of a sudden become the “body”? All television channels reporting “the body will be brought to Mumbai in the night!” Suddenly your individuality gets lost and becomes a mere body??”, he tweeted.
Across the border in Pakistan, Mahira Khan, Ali Zafar, Adnan Siddiqui, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and scores of artists and admirers took to the social media to pay their tributes to the Bollywood legend, who was a heartthrob of millions in Pakistan. Adnan Siddiqui appeared as her onscreen husband along with fellow Pakistani Sajjal Aly, who played the role of their daughter, in “Mom”, which was released last year.
Sridevi released an emotional video message after the completion of Mom in 2017, in which she called Aly like her real daughter. And Aly never hid her love and respect for the superstar. “Lost my mom again”, Aly said in reaction to the shocking news. Aly’s real mother died in March 2017.
Pakistani actor Adnan Siddiqui, who played her onscreen husband in “Mom”, wrote: “Life is so unpredictable. A lady with not just extreme talent but also a beautiful soul, Sri Devi Kapoor leaves us heavy-hearted. So many memories attached while shooting ‘Mom’ with her, just a couple days back I met her at Boney Kapoor’s nephew’s wedding and who would have thought that it is the last time I am seeing her.”
“I am still in a state of shock and out of words to describe my feeling! May her soul rest in eternal peace hereafter,” he said.
Ali Zafar said Sridevi has left people with “great memories of joy and tears.” Sharing an image with the actress on Instagram, Saba Qamar wrote: “R.I.P legend. We’ll miss you.”
Bollywood movies remain the most popular in Pakistan for generations. Like other South Asians, many in Pakistan closely follow the Bollywood actors, many of whom have Pakistani ancestry.
Regarded as Hindi cinema’s first “female superstar”, she was the recipient of five Filmfare Awards. Sridevi ranked amongst the highest-paid actors in the 1980s and 1990s and is considered to be the most popular actress of the era.
She is remembered for her historic performances in some of the iconic Bollywood films like “Mr India”, “Nagina”, “Sadma”, “ChalBaaz”, “Chandni” and “Khuda Gawah”, among many others in different languages.