Life and death are conjoined twins. Nothing makes us ruminate more on life than the news of death.
During those demonetization days if everyone became an economist, on the demise of Sridevi everyone seems to have become a philosopher. This was evident from the first tweet and the first whatsapp message that I came across.
The conscience keepers of the nation too had their grudges vented. Some lamented that while the nation and her pressmen were obsessed with a matinee idol, the death of soldiers in the boarders got only passing mention.
Some moralists even cried foul to see her body wrapped in the tri-colour. Actually, these moralists should protest when an artist is given any national honour like the Padma Awards. If we don’t have any objection to someone being given a national honour while living, why should we protest when, out of protocol, the same person is given a national honour when dead.
Ironically, these so called gatekeepers of Indian morality must have, at some point of life, indulged themselves in one of her movies to escape from the mundane affairs of everyday life.
Ram Gopal Verma, in a blog post, has shed light on some of the harsh realities of Sridevi’s life. He says that the only moments when Sridevi seemed comfortable with life were those when she was in front of the camera. If cinema has been an escape for the Indian public from the harsh realities of life, so was the case with her, from a different angle though.
During those days when she was gaining her foothold in the movies, high payments to filmi people were in black money to avoid tax. Her father entrusted the money to different relatives. When he died the relatives refused to give back the money.
Subsequently, her mother took charge to manages her financial and other professional affairs. She made a lot of bad investment decisions. By the time Sridevi and Boney Kapoor met both were in deep financial trouble.
I am not much of a Sridevi fan, though she came to rule Bollywood with a spate of super-hits with Jitendra when I was a late teenager. For casual fights and arguments, in our college hostel, we had two major Bollywood groups: one was the Jeetu-Sridevi group, another was Amitabh Bachchan group. I belonged to the later. My one-to-one combat used to be with Subrat Satpathy, who also had been my high school classmate. When I came in contact with him after a long gap (thanks to facebook) the first thing we relished was about our fights over Jitendra-Sridevi and Bachchan.
Nevertheless, we can definitely draw inspiration from the struggle and the achievements of persons like Sridevi. An artist’s contribution to the society as well can never be undermined in spite of the foul cry of the moralists.
We know that it is only a minuscule percentage of prospective artists who make it to the top of the celebrity charts and stay there for some time. The road to stardom is paved with thorns of sacrifice and struggle.
Still then, we fail to see the struggle, the pain, and the tears behind the grease paint applied to give us the picture perfect.