The twinkle in her eyes, her bright smile and her sprightly attitude had made her one of the most popular actresses in the late 80s and 90s in Bollywood, a lodestar in the true sense of the word, since she drew both the classes and masses with her effervescence and charm. Her fame touched a new high when she was rediscovered as Yash Chopra‘s beauty queen in romantic dramas like Chandni and Lamhe – the latter going on to become a cult classic for it wasn’t well-accepted in its year of release since it was considered way ahead of its time.
It is but a difficult to task to let go of all the popularity one gains in their tenure in the film industry, Sridevi, however chose to leave it all behind to start a family with producer Boney Kapoor. Last year, she returned with a bang as Shashi Godbole in English Vinglish, a role which struck a chord with plethora categories of audience especially homemakers worldwide.
Having worked in many films in her career spanning about 2.5 decades, below are some of her best performances (not in chronological order) according to us. Read on to find out why:
1) Chandni – Like a stream of moonlight, she epitomized the look from the movie called as the “Chandni look” – legendary filmmaker, Yash Chopra’s marvel and Sridevi’s charm did the trick. This film was also one of the very few female-oriented films where a woman’s ability to love, her angst, her pain and her resilience were shown. Of course, who can forget the romance between Rishi Kapoor and Sridevi brewing in the snow-clad mountains in Switzerland.
2) Chaalbaaz – Seen in a double role as Anju and Manju, sisters separated at birth, Sridevi was marvelous in both the roles, one opposite Sunny Deol, the other opposite Rajinikanth. Manju’s make-up revenge on Rohini Hattangadi was hilarious, so was her fabulous Taandav dance.
3) Lamhe – Seen again in a double role spread over two generations, that of a mother-daughter duo, this film as of today is considered a cult classic. This was also Yash Chopra’s celluloid dream, a story he had thought of soon after Silsila released in theaters but could only see it culminate about a decade later. The film was shot in Rajasthan and London. One of the songs from the film, Kabhi Main Kahoon, composed by Shiv-Hari was also the background music for Chandni.
4) Khuda Gawah – A story set in Afghanistan where the film’s protagonists, Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi who belonged to two warring tribal groups are brought together by love. It is interesting for the storyline and the smart execution spread over 20 odd years where the aforementioned couple has a daughter (Sridevi) who sets out in search of her father in the latter half of the film, in the process meeting and falling in love by the character played by Nagarjuna.
5) Gumrah – What began as a dream for the aspiring singer played by Sridevi, turned into a nightmare she never could get rid off easily. Being acquitted for a crime she did not commit in an alien land, the film shows the character’s struggle in the prison premises and thence the fight to prove she was innocent throughout.
6) Sadma – A touching story about a modern girl who meets with an accident, and lands up in an area which is rather frowned upon by a ‘normal’ denizen. Reshmi/Nehalata has no memory of she is, since her memory is limited to a girl all of age 7. How she meets Somu (Kamal Hassan) and is taken care of by him, in the process developing a strong yet lovely bond, is totally worth-watching. Sridevi’s role as a 7 year-old girl trapped in the body of a grown woman was a completely laudable effort and won the actress much adulation when the film released three decades back in 1983.
7) Nagina – While only a small section of the audience would have enjoyed watching a near-fantasy film highlighting the romance between a human and a snake who could transform into anything or anyone, Nagina is a film which showcased the actress in a totally different light since it required not just acting but superb dancing skills too from her to be able to pull off the ‘snake-dance’ with much aplomb.
8) Jaanbaaz – Seen in barely two-three scenes in this film which was mostly about Anil Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia (reinvented), Jaanbaaz’s songs were quite a hit then as much as they are now. One song however, which remains a favorite for many, Har Kisiko Nahin Milta has been shot on this beautiful actress.
9) Mr. India – Who can forget the unforgettable yet awesome Hawa Hawai? Sridevi’s spark was evident throughout this film as the aspiring journalist who falls in love with a man she has only heard, never seen… the acceptance of which happened in a barn on a stormy night where Sridevi looked lovely in a blue saree.
10) English Vinglish – Having taken a break from the industry to become a full-time wife and mommy, Sridevi returned to the big screen last year with a blast in English Vinglish as a neglected housewife and mother who learns to overcome her under-confidence by learning the English language still proving that overcoming a language barrier does not change the person. A film that struck a chord amongst many women worldwide.