The Celebrity Death Syndrome: Mortality on Our Minds


The Celebrity Death Syndrome: Mortality on Our Minds

Illustration: Shruti Yatam


s the shock over Sridevi’s death recedes, and gets replaced by sordid conspiracy theories and a lament over how low we can fall for TRPs, my mother, remains glued to the TV, still absorbed in the specifics of the Roop ki Rani’s life and sudden death.

“But she was 54. And a fitness freak,” my mother wonders aloud. The unspoken “then how?” hangs in the air while she scrambles to find the chink in Sridevi’s apparently airtight armour that can justify the cardiac arrest (as first reported), and perhaps explain the unexplainable. Evidently, my mother is not alone. Soon enough, random WhatsApp forwards and grave social media posts start trickling in that seek to explain exactly why and how Sridevi died. The reasons offered depend on the perceived gravitas of the source and range from diet, stress, pressures of being a celebrity, alleged surgeries, to patriarchal constructs, and lack of personal agency.