Padma Shri Sridevi Kapoor was widely considered as the first female Bollywood superstar of all time. She took over Indian cinema, gaining as much stardom in Bollywood as she did in south India; a feat very few have managed successfully.
Where was she from?
Sridevi was born named Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on August 13, 1963.
Her father was from Tamil Nadu while her mother hailed from Andhra Pradesh. She had two siblings, Srilatha Yanger and Satish Yanger.
Starring across Indian cinema
She started her acting career at the age of four in Tamil cinema. The movie, Thunaivan, released in 1969 was by M. A. Thirumugam and had a devotional theme. She went on to do many child roles in other South Indian film industries including Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada. Her first role in Bollywood was in 1975’s Julie, again as a child-actor.
Sridevi as Irene in Julie (1975)
She got her first adult role was when she was still a child. At the age of 13, she starred opposite Tamil superstar Rajinikanth in Moondru Mudichu. The movie also saw a guest appearance by Kamal Hassan, another cinema legend. This set off her golden years in South Indian cinema.
During the same time, in 1979, she got her lead debut role in Hindi film, Solva Sawan. However, it was Himmatwala in 1983 that propelled her to national fame and she continued the streak for almost 15 years.
“Achieving this position is not difficult. I was a superstar after just one hit, Himmatwala. It’s maintaining this position that keeps me tense all the time”, Sridevi is reported to have said in an interview to Cine Blitz in 1985.
A still from Lamhe (1991)
She quickly became one of the most popular actresses across the nation and was praised for her acting skills in all genres of movies, entertaining dance songs and beauty. As a trained dancer, many of her dance performances in film songs have managed to become iconic and legendary.
She married Boney Kapoor (shown below) in 1997, a renowned Bollywood film producer with whom she had two children.
A 15-year long break
It was after her 1997 movie, Judaai, and her marriage to Kapoor that Sridevi took a break from cinema. After a few years, she made some appearances in TV and reality shows, but stayed away from the big screen. She appeared and performed at award shows, and also walked the ramp for leading fashion shows from 2008-2010.
The golden comeback
She broke her 15-year long hiatus with a blockbuster hit in 2012, English Vinglish. She is possibly the only Bollywood actress to have successfully won the audience and the box office over after such a long break. She continued making films in Tollywood and Bollywood with Puli in 2015 and Mom in 2017.
In 2013, Sridevi received the Padma Shri title, the fourth highest civilian honour awarded by the Indian government. She was nominated ten times as Best Actress at the Filmfare awards, out of which she won six times. She had also received awards and recognition from regional cinema houses and governments in India for her contribution to the film industry.
A legend in Indian cinema
She has acted in over 300 films across Indian cinema, and entertained two generations of movie-goers. She has acted with the biggest names of Indian cinema including Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikant, Kamal Hassan, Jeetendra, Rajesh Khanna, Anil Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Sanjay Dutt among many others.
Top 10 Iconic Movies
This was a comedy drama starring Sridevi and Jeetendra. The movie was a remake of the 1981 Tamil hit Ooruki Monagadu and set off her golden era in Indian cinema. It was among the biggest blockbusters of the 1980s.
Another release in 1983, Sridevi got critical acclaim for her portrayal of a young girl who suffers from amnesia after a head injury. She won the Filmfare award as Best Actress for this performance.
A fantasy film starring Sridevi, Nagina is widely hailed as one of the very first and few woman-led movies recording a massive commercial success. The movie is now considered a cult classic.
Mr. India (1987)
Released in 1980, this sci-fi featured one of the most famous songs starring Sridevi, Hawa Hawaii. Her imitation of Charlie Chaplin has been hailed as iconic and truly representative of her acting range.
A double-role, Chaalbaaz is a remake of a Tamil movie. The film is considered an all-time classic comedy and starred Rajinikanth, Sunny Deol, Anupam Kher alongside Sridevi.
This Sridevi-starrer won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film in 1989. The movie’s soundtrack and Sridevi’s corresponding performances were also very popular across the country.
Sridevi bagged another of her six Filmfare awards as Best Actress for her performance in this Yash Copra production. Though it didn’t do as well in India, the movie got commercial success in the United Kingdom. Half of the movie was filmed in London, while the other half was filmed in Rajasthan.
Though the movie has a slow opening, it went on to have successful runs worldwide. The movie was then remade into a TV series, Main Lakshmi Tere Aangan Ki.
English Vinglish (2012)
Her comeback hit, English Vinglish is quintessential proof of Sridevi’s acting prowess – not dimmed by her 15-year hiatus from the industry. It was shortlisted as India's official entry for the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
A thriller, Sridevi plays the role of a mother and vigilante, out to avenge her daughter. Mom was her 300th film and her last film appearance before her death on February 24.