Sridevi: The Goddess Who Reigned Supreme in the Age of Overstatement

Bollywood

Sridevi: The Goddess Who Reigned Supreme in the Age of Overstatement

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza

W

hen I was 14 years old, all I really wanted to do was flip my hair and rotate my hips like Sridevi in “Hawa Hawai”. I also wanted to wield a whip while wearing a pink headband with a bow like Manju in Chaalbaaz. And I was convinced that I would be the object of affection for all my crushes if I could dangle a piece of hay between my teeth as seductively as she did in “Kaate Nahin Kat Te.” I think I even practiced with a straw a few times.

What attracted my generation to imitate the various personas of Sridevi was the very thing that made her stand out – her larger-than-life existence. Normal people living normal lives didn’t just go “Shoo” at a cockroach, bid creditors farewell with a “Ok! Tata! Bye, bye, chee you, sayonara!”, or articulate revenge while singing “Main teri dushman, dushman tu mera” as a snake. This wondrous oddity was her USP, inviting teenage girls like me to wallow in the escapist daydreams it was capable of granting.

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