Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Sridevi

Disclaimer: These pics are taken from the web.

Death is the only finality. Everything else can be reversed.

As the world still reels in shock from the death of an iconic female superstar of our country, Sridevi, I am confused at the force with which it impacted me.

I am by no means her biggest fan, nor have I seen all her movies. But then why do I feel that someone from my family has departed. Why then the shock, the pain and the sense of bereavement? Why did I follow every news channel for the past week, why did I google for news every couple of hours and why did I try to watch every live clipping that I could get, sitting here in Singapore?

Because she is an integral part of my life, albeit unknown to me until now.

Because she is not only a movie star, but she also represents experiences. The experiences of my childhood. The times when I came back from school at 4 pm, and watched scenes of Chaalbaaz, Mr. India, Chandni, Inquilaab and many others, while having a quick snack, before rushing back for the two-hour sports sessions. There are some movies, I have not watched in its entirety, but had only seen those scenes that ran from 4 pm – 4:45 pm over and over again, as the channels repeated the popular movies at exactly the same afternoon slot.
Disclaimer: These pics are taken from the web.
The twinkling eyes, the shy smile, the pixie like quality in some of her characters, the subdued grace in others, the childlike innocence and the infectious laughter --- they can never be forgotten.

The last scene of Sadma, which even now, gives me the shivers. The desolation, the poignancy, the pathos seemed too real to brave watching it again. What a powerful performance, so subtle that it created magic.

Sridevi… it seems blasphemous to call her by her name, it seems less respectful; she reminds me of the happy times, when we played Antakshari as young teenagers and sang songs from her latest movies. The lazy Sunday afternoons, when we would watch a movie with the whole family. The times we would try to mimic “Mere Hathon Mein Nau Nau Chudiyaan” and fail miserably. The pleasure of innumerable moments surrounded by love, happiness and security of my family, as we together celebrated her art.

Disclaimer: These pics are taken from the web.
Not to forget, English Vinglish, my mother’s favourite and mine too. I must have watched it over 10 times, and many more times, the last monologue, when she proves her strength (not necessarily proving her husband and children wrong).

Disclaimer: These pics are taken from the web.
Every film that we watched, every song that we sang, every scene that we recreated in our minds, was with the hope that there would be more. Or at least another glimpse of her real life, a peek into her day and a chance to pledge allegiance. But unfortunately, the dream ended into a nightmare.

Being a writer, I am often a nosy parker. I google people. Find out about their lives, their secrets, the scandals, the unsavoury truths. Then move on to those mentioned in the first stories. And so spend hours snooping. But right now, I didn’t google a thing. I didn’t need to. For I am not writing an article for a magazine. I am not even writing a fan story. I am simply sharing my sense of loss and the fact that I still cannot believe it.

That is the impact of a superstar. Not just the acting, not just the performance, not just the mastery over the craft. It is the ability to infiltrate into people’s lives, without their knowledge and become a permanent yet invisible member of the family – whose presence is felt, ironically, only by his death.

Disclaimer: These pics are taken from the web.

Life is so strange. There are so many twists. And the turns are no less. When such a disastrous incident occurs, one either momentarily becomes afraid of the future, or one tries to dig in deep to find a so-called logical reason to believe the unbelievable. The former often destroys one’s own inner peace, the latter can disparage the deceased’s reputation. But in either case, there is no solution. Only a lesson.

Death is the only finality. Everything else can be reversed.

As I bid good-bye to future memories, I am reminded once again of the famous lines…

Kaate Nahi Katate Ye Din Ye Raat
Kehni Thi Tumse Jo Dil Ki Baat
Lo Aaj Main Kehti Hoon… I Love You!


With that last avowal, I urge everyone to cherish their loved ones, to cherish every instance, every adventure, every moment. But above all, to cherish Life. It has meaning, it should not end without one.