Monday, 17 April 2017

Sridevi then, Sridevi now. Wow!

Sridevi in the 90s. Sridevi in the 00s

Sridevi dancing with Jaya Prada

Truth be told Maqsad is not a great film. And the grand finale number 'Naagraja' is a bit of an ear-sore on audio. But visually, its high drama. Pure spectacle. A dance-drama worth watching repeatedly just for the diva-off... 

Sridevi and Jaya Prada battle it out and its spectacular. The two dancing divas of Bollywood in the 1980s in their shimmering sari-clad perfection. The contemporaries were competitors, who set aside all their differences to act in several films together. In this dance, you can see their famed arch rivalry. Sridevi is as graceful as ever, Jaya Prada beautiful. It is purely a matter of opinion on who is better.

Sridevi went on to rule the box-office, get greater pay, have films written for her and was the unquestionable Queen of Bollywood as her ascent was undeniable. Jaya Prada... well, for all her accomplishments (she was beautiful, a fine actress and dancer), she didn't achieve the legendary status of her rival. The pretty doll in several movies where she was an accessory to the hero, Jaya Prada was wasted in several flop films throughout the '80s - with no single successful film that can be credited or attributed to her merits.

Whereas Sridevi led films with title roles, double-roles and committed herself to ensure that she was getting equal (if not higher) pay and a role equal to her male co-stars. To top it all, she had box-office clout. We can rattle off a number of films which were successful simply because of Sridevi's presence and aura, be it a title-role like Chandni or her penultimate film English Vinglish. In the later years, when Sridevi did a guest appearance in a film like Main Tera Dushman - where Jaya Prada was in fact the leading lady - the posters showcased Sri more than Jaya as she had a greater draw.

Both actresses rarely appear on screen now, but when the two ladies met in May 2016 at a wedding, they set aside their differences and history. For the camera at least.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Family First

In the late 1980s, at the peak of her fame and glory, the number one star of India Sridevi gave legendary Indian photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha an all access pass to her sanctuary; her family and her family home.

The rare portrait session she did with her parents and sister - and then her extended family, Sridevi was at her happiest and as her poses show, most regal and relaxed.

Dressed in her south-Indian finery and style, the gajras, the jewellery, the zari...  there's no mistaking how deeply connected she is/was to her South-Indian and familial roots.

Published first in Cineblitz.

Sridevi's curls in Khuda Gawah

It is one of the all-time great opening shots and introductions to a strong female protagonist on Hindi cinema. Ever. Sridevi as Benazir in Khuda Gawah. With no dialogues and just the most fiercest of looks, Sridevi establishes strength and dignity in the opening frames in one of the most grand Indian films made in the 90s.

Khuda Gawah is epic. In scale, star-cast, music, locations, action, drama...  A fraction of its grandeur is lost on DVD - this movie was meant to be seen on the BIG screen!

Sridevi on the sets of Nagina

Sridevi on the sets of Nagina


Sridevi... on the sets of the shelved film Garajna? Maybe...

Meendum Kokila (1981)

As the internet is filled with nonsense reports and fake news, as the unofficial* fan site of Sridevi, we are here to refute rumours and trounce spurious reports. The number one newsbyte (that infuriates us no end) being that Sridevi's name alleged as "Shree Amma Iyenger". Sridevi has denied it in interviews and yet this "alleged fact" aka "alternate truth" lives on online!

Sridevi was born simply as "Sreedevi Aiyyappan" - she signs autographs simply as "A Sreedevi" (as family names are featured first in the South).

The second dubious false reportage that's often said and written about, is that Sridevi won Best Actress awards for Moondram Pirai / Sadma. No she didn't.

Sridevi won her first Best Actress Filmfare award in 1981 for the film Meendum Kokila. The film, released on 14 January 1981, was a box-office success where Sri acted with Kamal Haasan (for the n'th time) in a role where she portrayed herself as a Brahmin housewife trying to get back her husband who was infatuated with an actress (Deepa). She won her first major award at the age of 18 - the first of her four Filmfare Awards for Best Actress. Had there been Filmfare awards in 86 and 87, we are pretty damn sure Sridevi would have won for Nagina and Mr India too!