So Long and Thank You for the Laughs, Sridevi


So Long and Thank You for the Laughs, Sridevi

Illustration: Sushant Ahire


n 2017, Sridevi starred in MOM, where she played Devki, an avenging mother who bypasses the law and exacts revenge for her daughter’s rape. MOM was the actress’ 300th film and although it was far from her oeuvre — of being India’s first legit female comedian — traces of her legacy loomed over so many other women-led films of the same year.

For starters, there was Hansal Mehta’s rather difficult-to-slot Simran, where Kangana Ranaut played Praful Patel, a 30-year-old divorcee and housekeeper, who starts robbing banks after her life falls apart due to a gambling habit. Despite being inspired by real, fairly dark events, the film shed the baggage of a dark crime thriller, and instead chose to pitch itself as an oddball comedy. That move ultimately didn’t pay off; but what stood out was Kangana’s masterfully goofy comic timing where it’s easy to see traces of Sridevi, an early infuser of klutz in comedy.