Rare vintage photos of legendary Indian actor Sridevi
Sridevi was an Indian actress and producer, who worked in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam and Kannada films.
Sridevi (born Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan; 13 August 1963 – 24 February 2018) was an Indian actress and producer, who worked in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam and Kannada films. Regarded as the "First female Superstar" of Indian cinema, she was the recipient of various accolades, including a National Film Award, a Nandi Award, the Tamil Nadu State Film Award, the Kerala State Film Award, three Filmfare Awards and three Filmfare Awards South. In 2013, the Government of India awarded her with Padma Shri, the country's fourth-highest civilian honor. In a career that spanned five decades, she was known for her portrayals of women in challenging situations, and appeared in a range of genres, from slapstick comedy to epic dramas. Sridevi ranked as the highest paid woman in the Indian entertainment industry during 1980s and 1990s and is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actresses in the history of Indian cinema.
Sridevi made her debut as child artist with the 1967 Tamil film Kandhan Karunai at the age of 4, and started her acting career in lead role as a child with M. A. Thirumugam’s 1969 mythological Tamil film Thunaivan. She continued to act as a child artist in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films and made her Hindi film debut at age 9 with Rani Mera Naam (1972). Her first adult role came at age 13 with the Tamil film Moondru Mudichu (1976) and she established herself as one of the leading actresses of South Indian Cinema, with roles in 16 Vayathinile (1977), Thulavarsham (1976), Angeekaram (1977), Sigappu Rojakkal (1978), Padaharella Vayasu (1978), Vetagadu (1979), Varumayin Niram Sivappu (1980), Meendum Kokila (1981), Premabhishekam (1981), Moondram Pirai (1982), Aakhari Poratam (1988), Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari (1990) and Kshana Kshanam (1991).
Following a notable appearance in romantic drama Julie (1975), Sridevi's first starring role in Hindi cinema came with the 1979 drama film Solva Sawan, and she received wider recognition with the 1983 film Himmatwala. She established herself in the industry with a string of successful films, including Mawaali (1983), Justice Chaudhry (1983), Tohfa (1984), Naya Kadam (1984), Maqsad (1984), Masterji (1985), Karma (1986), Nazrana (1987), Mr. India (1987), Waqt Ki Awaz (1988) and Chandni (1989). She received praise for her performances in films, including Sadma (1983), Nagina (1986), ChaalBaaz (1989), Lamhe (1991), Khuda Gawah (1992), Gumrah (1993), Laadla (1994), and Judaai (1997). Following the role of the titular protagonist in the television sitcom Malini Iyer (2004–2005), Sridevi returned to film acting in 2012 with the successful comedy-drama English Vinglish, and then starred in her 300th film role in the 2017 thriller Mom. She earned critical acclaim for her performances in both films, and for the latter was posthumously awarded the National Film Award for Best Actress.
Honorary awards were also conferred on her by the state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Sridevi was voted 'India's Greatest Actress in 100 Years' in a CNN-IBN national poll conducted in 2013 on the occasion of the centenary of Indian cinema. On 24 February 2018, Sridevi was found dead in her guest room at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The official coroner's report showed that she had accidentally drowned in the bathtub, with unconsciousness cited as a contributing factor. News of her death featured prominently in Indian and international media. She was married to film producer Boney Kapoor, with whom she had two children including actress Janhvi Kapoor.
Sridevi was born at Meenampatti Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, India on 13 August 1963 to Ayyapan and Rajeshwari. Her father was a lawyer from Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu. Her mother, a Telugu actress, was from Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. She has a sister and two stepbrothers.
Sridevi started her career as a child actor at the age of four in the Tamil movie Kandan Karunai in 1967. Subsequently, she played the role of young Muruga in Thunaivan. Sridevi made her debut in Telugu cinema as a child artist with the 1970 film Maa Nanna Nirdoshi. Baby Sridevi's performance in Poompatta (1971) in Malayalam won her the Kerala State Film Award for Best Child Artist. Kandan Karunai (1967), Nam Naadu (1969), Prarthanai (1970), Babu (1971), Badi Panthulu (1972), Bala Bharatam (1972), Vasantha Maaligai (1972) and Bhakta Kumbara (1974) are the most notable films of her career as a child artist. In 1972, Sridevi debuted as a child artist in Bollywood with Rani Mera Naam directed by K. S. R. Das. She also appeared in the film Julie, where she played younger sister to the protagonist Lakshmi. She acted with Jayalalitha in Thirumangalyam, Kandan Karunai and Adi Parashakti.
In 1976, Sridevi landed her first leading role in the Tamil film Moondru Mudichu directed by K. Balachander. She followed it with a number of films with Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. Sridevi's first release of 1977 was Gayathri, followed by Kavikkuyil and 16 Vayathinile, where she played the role of a young girl who is caught between her two lovers. She also starred in the movie's Telugu remake Padaharella Vayasu in 1978. Her subsequent notable films included Bharathi Raja's Sigappu Rojakkal, S. P. Muthuraman's Priya, Karthika Deepam, Johnny, Varumayin Niram Sivappu and Aakali Rajyam. She acted with N. T. Rama Rao in Vetagadu, Sardar Papa Rayudu, Bobbili Puli, Justice Chowdhary and Aatagadu. She acted alongside Sivaji Ganesan in Sandhippu, Kavari Maan and the Sri Lanka-filmed coproduction Pilot Premnath.
Sridevi debuted as child artist in Kannada with Bhakta Kumbara (1974) directed by Hunsur Krishnamurthy. Her other films as a child artist in Kannada included Bala Bharatam and Yashoda Krishna. She was also a part of Hennu Samsarada Kannu (1975), directed by A.V. Sheshagiri Rao. Sridevi also acted as lead opposite Ambarish in Priya (1978), produced by S. P. Muthurraman. She entered Malayalam films as child actor with Kumara Sambhavam in 1969, followed by I. V. Sasi's Abhinandanam. Her notable Malayalam films as the lead heroine were Thulavarsham, directed by N. Sankaran Nair in 1976, and M. Masthan's Kuttavum Shikshayum, a remake of the Tamil film Pennai Nambungal with Kamal Haasan starring opposite her.
She next appeared in the Malayalam releases like Aa Nimisham, Angeekaram and Satyavan Savithri. In 1981, she starred in the Tamil film Meendum Kokila which won her the Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil. In 1982, Sridevi starred in Moondram Pirai playing a woman suffering from retrograde amnesia and went on to win the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress. She was paired with Kamal Haasan in 27 films across languages.
Sridevi's notable films in her mother tongue Telugu include Konda Veeti Simham, Kshana Kshanam, Vetagadu, Sardar Paparayudu and Bobbili Puli. With A. Nageswara Rao, she appeared in movies such as Muddula Koduku, Premabhishekham, Bangaru Kanuka and Premakanuka as well as with Krishna in Kanchu Kagada, Kalavari Samsaram, Adavi Simhalu, Krishnavatharam, Burripalem Bolludu, Vajrayudham, Gharana Donga, Kirayi Kotigadu, Pachani kapuram, Makutam Leni Maharaju, Ramarajyamlo Bheemaraju, Jayam manade, Samajaniki sawal, Mama allulla sawal, Ram-Robert-Rahim and Khaidi Rudrayya. She acted with Chiranjeevi in Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari, S. P. Parasuram. Her performance in the 1992 Ram Gopal Varma directed Kshana Kshanam opposite Venkatesh, won her the Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu and Andhra's Nandi Award for Best Actress. She acted in Highest number of Telugu movies with Super Star Krishna.
Sridevi made her debut as a heroine in Hindi films in Solva Sawan in 1979. Four years later she was signed to star opposite Jeetendra in Himmatwala (remake of Telugu film Ooruki Monagadu). The film released in 1983, and was one of the highest-grossing Hindi films of the year. It established Sridevi in Bollywood and earned her the famous sobriquet 'Thunder Thighs'. Her dance number "Nainon Mein Sapna" became a rage with Rediff stating that "the water pots may have dominated most frames in "Nainon mein sapna", but it was Sridevi's bejewelled outfits and headgears that stole the show". She followed with Tohfa, which was the highest-grossing Hindi film of 1984. The film established Sridevi as one of the leading actress of Bollywood, with Filmfare magazine declaring her "Unquestionably No.1" on their cover.
The pair of Jeetendra-Sridevi did 16 films together of which Himmatwala (1983), Jaani Dost (1983), Justice Chaudhry (1983), Mawaali(1983), Akalmand (1984), Tohfa (1984), Balidaan (1985), Aulad (1987), Suhagan (1986), Ghar Sansar (1986), Dharm Adhikari (1986),Sone Pe Suhaaga (1988) were successful and Aag Aur Shola (1986), Himmat Aur Mehanat (1987), Sarfarosh (1985) were flops Sadma released in 1983, brought Sridevi critical acclaim. A remake of her Tamil film Moondram Pirai, Sadma is included in iDiva's list of '10 Must Watch Movies That Weren't Blockbusters'.
Sridevi's performance as a child-woman suffering from amnesia was called by Indian Express "a milestone in her illustrious career". Sridevi also featured in the Mid Day list of 'Challenging Roles played by Bollywood Actors' describing her act in the film as "her best performance ever". In 2012, Adil Hussain, Sridevi's co-star in English Vinglish revealed that he became a fan of the actress after watching her in Sadma. The Sridevi-Kamal Hasan pair also appeared on the CNN-IBN 2012 list of 'Greatest Romantic Couples on Celluloid'. The film won Sridevi her first Filmfare nomination for Best Actress.
She also acted with A. Nageswara Rao's son Nagarjuna - like Aakhari Porattam, Govinda Govinda and Khudah Gawah. She has played heroine to both Dharmendra and his son Sunny Deol.
Sridevi had successful pairing with Rajesh Khanna in films such as Naya Kadam (1984), Maqsad (1984), Masterji (1985) and Nazrana (1987). In 1986, came the snake fantasy Nagina which saw Sridevi play an 'ichhadhaari naagin' or a shape-shifting woman. The film turned out to be the second biggest blockbuster of the year, with Box Office India stating that Sridevi remained "the undisputed No.1". It was also named one of the best snake fantasy films by Yahoo. Times of India ranked Nagina as one of the 'Top 10 Snake Films of Hindi Cinema'. Sridevi's climax dance number 'Main Teri Dushman' also remains one of the best snake dances in Bollywood with Desi Hits calling it "one of Sridevi's most iconic dance numbers...that still gives fans goose bumps" and iDiva describing it as "the stuff of movie legends". Besides Nagina, 1986 also saw Sridevi giving box-office hits in Subhash Ghai's multi-starrer Karma and Feroze Khan's Janbaaz. According to CNN-IBN Bollywood Blockbusters, "Sridevi's popularity grew so much that despite having a guest appearance in Janbaaz, she completely overshadowed the film's lead heroine Dimple Kapadia".
Sridevi followed the success of Nagina by playing a goofy crime journalist in the 1987 film Mr. India, described by Rediff as "one of the most iconic films of its time". Directed by Shekhar Kapur, it became one of the highest grossing hits of the year and also found a place in Hindustan Times' list of 'Top 10 Patriotic Films of Hindi Cinema'. While the trade famously joked that the film should have been named Miss India, Rediff.com also stated that "Sri was a complete show-stealer in the film". Sridevi's imitation of Charlie Chaplin in the film was described by The Times of India as "the most hilarious act she has ever done". Rediff also featured Sridevi in its list of 'Super Six Comic Heroines' stating that "her mobile face expressions could give Jim Carrey sleepless nights" and that "her biggest plus point is her ability to be completely uninhibited in front of the camera".
The dance number 'Hawa Hawai', cited by The Times of India as "one of the unforgettable numbers of Sridevi",] also became a popular nickname for the actress. Besides comedy, Sridevi featured in the video for the song "Kaate Nahin Kat Te"; Filmfare described Sridevi as "truly a goddess in a blue sari". Rediff.com also featured the song in its list of 'Top 25 Sari Moments' praising Sridevi's "ability to look erotic even when she's covered from head to toe". Box Office India states that with the success of Mr. India, Sridevi "continued her domination" over her contemporaries Jaya Prada and Meenakshi Sheshadri.
In 1989 came ChaalBaaz, which had Sridevi in a double role, playing twin sisters separated at birth. Filmfare ranked her performance fourth in its list of '80 Iconic Performances of Hindi Cinema', stating that "Sridevi's penchant for giggles and her ability to look distinctly tearful when required polishes these performances to perfection. Hell, she made Sunny Deol and Rajnikant look like sidekicks in the film". The Times of India article 'Bollywood's Hit Double Roles' wrote, "Sridevi's performance rocked the box office". Rediff.com featured the film in its countdown of "25 Best Double Roles in Bollywood" saying "What you don't realise until you have seen Chaalbaaz is just how incredible Sridevi is at depicting both ends of the spectrum", and that the film "cemented her position as an actress with a killer comic timing". Speaking to The Indian Express about Sridevi's act in ChaalBaaz, the director Pankaj Parashar said "She proved her range with the movie and after that she got lots of offers which saw her in a double role". Her slapstick rain dance "Na Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai" became successful with The Times of India describing it as a "Sridevi classic where she simply looked wow with her chirpy expressions and rain drops kissing her cheeks". The film won Sridevi her first Filmfare Award for Best Actress in Hindi films.
The same year also saw the release of the Yash Chopra romantic saga Chandni, with Sridevi playing the title role. The film emerged as one of the biggest blockbusters of 1989. Cited by The Times of India as "one of the most watched films of Indian cinema", the film also reaffirmed Sridevi's position as the top female star of the 1980s. While she topped the Hindustan Times' list of Yash Chopra's 'Top 5 Heroines', CNN-IBN also ranked her first on a similar list, saying "Yash Chopra immortalised Sridevi as the perfect Chandni". India Today and NDTV also included her in such lists, stating that the film established Sridevi "as the nation's sweetheart". The Tribune wrote: "Leena Daru scored a winner again when she created the 'Chandni Look' for Sridevi. Every street corner sold the salwar-kameez and dupatta that gave the heroine a refreshingly understated look, rarely seen on the Indian screen", Sridevi's dance number "Mere Hathon Mein Nau Nau Choodiyan" proved also popular with audiences, and she also lent her voice to the film's popular title-track. Sridevi garnered Filmfare Best Actress nominations for both Chandni and ChaalBaaz in 1989, winning with the latter.
Yash Chopra again cast Sridevi in his 1991 film Lamhe. The Times of India included it in its list of 'Top 10 Films of Yash Chopra' describing it as a tale of "love transcending the boundaries of time and space" while Rediff called it "Quite easily one of his most definitive films, Chopra surpassed his own findings of romance with the insightful, lovely Lamhe". Sridevi played both mother and daughter roles in what iDiva described as "another double role, but it was unlike any played before". Hailed by Rediff as "one of the most remarkable films of her career...often considered a film way ahead of its time", Sridevi's folk dance number 'Morni Baga ma' also became a rage and was placed among the 'Top 5 Songs' of Yash Chopra by Hindustan Times. Lamhe failed commercially but received high critical praise and has over the years become a cult classic. Talking about the film, critic Rachel Dwyer wrote in her biography of the film-maker "Yash Chopra's own favourite film, Lamhe ('Moments', 1991), divided the audience on a class basis: it was hugely popular with metropolitan elites and the overseas market, which allowed it to break even, but it had a poor box office response (largely lower class, especially the repeat audience) because of its supposed incest theme". The Hindu reported that "With shades of incest, Lamhe caused more than a flutter and remained the talk of the town", while Sridevi herself admitted in an interview with Rajeev Masand that she found the subject "too bold". Though the film flopped with Rediff describing its failure as "one of those bizarre, unexplained moments of cinema", Lamhe picked up five Filmfare trophies including Filmfare Award for Best Film and Sridevi's second Filmfare Award for Best Actress. Her popular Rajasthani costumes in the film also won designer Neeta Lulla her first National Film Award for Best Costume Design.
In 1992, Sridevi starred in the epic Khuda Gawah opposite Amitabh Bachchan. The actress played a double role again as an Afghan warrior Benazir and her daughter Mehendi. Shot mostly in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, it did good business with BBC reporting that "it ran to packed houses for 10 weeks in Kabul". Khuda Gawah still remains popular in Afghanistan and Rediff reported that the film is "in great demand after the re-opening of cinema halls in the country" in 2001. The film picked up the Filmfare Award for Best Director while Sridevi earned a Filmfare nomination for Best Actress. The actress's big budget 1993 release Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja was one of India's most expensive films ever made. Though the film failed at the box office, Sridevi was appreciated with Times of India calling her disguise in a comedy scene "the best ever South Indian role played by any actress".
Sridevi next starred in the 1993 thriller Gumrah, opposite Sanjay Dutt. Directed by Mahesh Bhatt, the actress played a singer falsely accused of drugs smuggling in Hong Kong. Bollyspice stated in its 'Sridevi Retrospective' that "Despite very good performances from the rest of the cast, Gumrah was really Sridevi's film. She managed to exemplify female emotion and robustness to a great degree that you remember the film largely for her significant contribution towards it". Her performance received another nomination for the Filmfare Best Actress Award. In 1994, Sridevi teamed up with Anil Kapoor again in Laadla playing business tycoon Sheetal Jaitley. The character, described by Times of India as "rude, dominant and very competitive" brought her yet another Filmfare nomination.
She acted in her comeback film in Malayalam in 1996 Bharathan's Devaraagam, a love story in which she starred opposite Aravind Swamy. The last major film Sridevi starred in before she took a break from the industry was Judaai, released in 1997. Along with Anil Kapoor and Urmila Matondkar, the actress played a greedy housewife going to extreme lengths for money. Talking about her swan song, critic Subhash K. Jha wrote that Sridevi "left us with the most stunning hurrah in Judaai. A terrible film that I've watched countless times to see her play the money-minded harridan who 'sells' her husband to Urmila Matondkar. Who but Sridevi could carry of such an outrageous role with such enthusiastic élan?!" while Bollyspice stated that "She used her polished acting skills to illustrate her character’s greed and individualism at such a grotesque level." Judaai won Sridevi her eighth Filmfare nomination for Best Actress, following this she retired from acting.
After a six-year hiatus, Sridevi briefly returned to the small screen in the Sahara sitcom Malini Iyer (2004–2005). She also appeared on Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai (2004) and as a judge in the TV show Kaboom (2005). She performed a medley of some of her musical numbers at the 52nd Filmfare Awards 2007. She was also a member of the Board of Directors at the Asian Academy of Film & Television.
On 19 September 2009, Sridevi appeared on the Sony TV show 10 Ka Dum.
On 13 May 2012, Sridevi appeared on the Star Plus Talk show Satyamev Jayate.
Sridevi has also developed a passion for painting. In March 2010, her paintings were sold by an international art auction house with the money raised being donated.
After an eight-year absence from film, Sridevi starred in English Vinglish (2012), a comedy-drama from debutante director Gauri Shinde. In the film, she played Shashi Godbole, a housewife who enrolls in an English-speaking course after her husband and daughter's mocking of her English skills. The film and Sridevi's performance received positive response. The Times of India called it "easily one of the best films of 2012" and Sridevi's performance "a masterclass for actors." Raja Sen of Rediff found the film "a winner all the way Sri excels in fleshing out her character", and critic Subhash K. Jha said Sridevi "makes the contemporary actresses, even the coolest ones, look like jokes...If you watch only two films every year make sure you see English Vinglish twice!" Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN wrote Sridevi delivers "a performance that is nothing short of perfect. It's warm and fuzzy, and leaves you with a big smile on your face." "Sridevi doesn't miss a beat. Her performance is a triumph", added the critic Anupama Chopra. Komal Nahta said she "makes the best comeback in Bollywood history and delivers a landmark performance."
With the success of English Vinglish, Sridevi became the only actress in Bollywood to make a successful comeback as a leading lady after marriage and a long hiatus. Shinde featured her in the Financial Times 2012 list of '25 Indians To Watch'. She topped Rediff.com's annual listing of the "Bollywood's Best Actresses" in 2012; the website wrote English Vinglish "is a simple film where things are credible, never melodramatic" and Sridevi "always judges the tone right. It's the sort of performance younger actresses should learn from." Sridevi was declared the most-admired Bollywood actress of 2012 in a mobile survey conducted by Vuclip, the world's largest mobile research company. She was nominated for several awards, including her ninth Filmfare Best Actress nomination. Following an appearance during the song "Apna Bombay Talkies" in the film Bombay Talkies (2013), Sridevi starred in the Tamil fantasy action adventure film Puli (2015), which became her last Tamil film before her death in 2018.
Sridevi was next seen in her home production titled Mom (2017), which marked her 300th film. In the thriller film, she played a mother who sets out to avenge the rape of her daughter. Sridevi said that as a mother and an artiste, she empathized with her character's rage, and found it hard to be in a normal state during the filming. Mom was released on 7 July 2017 to generally positive reviews, with critics widely appreciating Sridevi's performance. The Times of India and The Indian Express added Sridevi "demonstrates why she is the high-priestess of Indian cinema" and that she "needs only a twitch or a glance to prove that she is a powerhouse and there are several scenes she lifts by just being there." For her performance, Sridevi received the National Film Award for Best Actress and earned nominations for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress, Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress and Screen Award for Best Actress. At the time of her death, Sridevi was not shooting for any upcoming films; her last on-screen appearance was in Aanand L. Rai's film Zero (2018) in a cameo.3140] Sridevi had signed the 2019 film Kalank, produced by Karan Johar; however, due to her demise she was replaced by Madhuri Dixit. Another film she had signed, the Malayalam film Sree Sree Devaraagam, a sequel to Sridevi's own 1996 hit film Devaraagam, was subsequently shelved after her death.
Sridevi is cited by media publications as a fashion icon. Her taste in clothes was varied and ranged from stylish casual to opulently majestic. She made her debut as a fashion model in 2008. The actress modelled clothes for designers Priya and Chintan at the Lakme Fashion Week. The next year, she displayed the work of jewelry designer Queenie Dhodhy at the HDIL India Couture Week. She worked at Lakme Fashion Week again in 2010, and at Delhi Couture Week 2012, showing clothes designed by Sabyasachi Mukherjee.
She has also appeared on the cover of several fashion magazines. In 2007, she was featured on the cover of Hi Blitz with the tagline "The Goddess Returns". In 2011, she featured on the cover of Marie Claire, and in 2012, she was on the cover of L'Officiel. In 2013, Sridevi appeared on the cover of Vogue, which was mentioned in Hindustan Times, The Times of India, and India Today.
Sridevi received the 'Ultimate Diva' award at the Ciroc Filmfare Glamour & Style Awards in 2015.
Sridevi was always accompanied by her mother Rajeshwari or by her sister Srilatha to the film sets during shooting of her films between 1972 and 1994. Sanjay Ramaswamy is married to her sister Srilatha since 1989.
Her father died in 1991, while she was shooting for Lamhe. Her mother died in 1996, as a result of the complications suffered from an operation that she underwent in 1995 on a brain tumor at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The neurosurgeon operated on the wrong side of her brain destroying her vital tissues of vision and recent memory. This was widely reported in US media at that time which then led to a successful court battle and prompted then President Bill Clinton’s proposal of a program for hospitals to disclose their medical malpractice and errors.
Sridevi was extremely discreet about her privacy and rarely gave interviews or discussed her private life in them. In the 1980s she was reported to have married actor Mithun Chakraborty, whom she met on the sets of Jaag Utha Insan (1984). In 1996, she married producer Boney Kapoor. The couple had two daughters, Janhvi (born in 1997), who is herself an actress, and Khushi (born in 2000).Sridevi was brought up as a vegetarian.
Despite being known for her portrayals of a strong, vivacious and exuberant woman on-screen, Sridevi was an extremely introverted and reserved person off-screen. CNN-IBN correspondent Rajeev Masand says; "I have never known anyone who was so painfully shy, so quiet off screen, who just transformed into a force of nature when the cameras came on. She was an interviewer’s nightmare, but the movie-buff’s dream". Commenting on her reserved nature, Firstpost says; "Behind the glamourous heroine with twinkling, magical eyes and a stunning face, was an inherently shy woman, often mistaken as arrogant. The truth is she was shy. Having begun to act when she was just 12, she did not complete formal education or get much of a chance to interact with kids of her own age. Consequently, she developed a strong dislike for crowds and noise."
On 20 February 2018, Sridevi and her youngest daughter Khushi had flown to Al Jazirah Al Hamra in Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, to attend the wedding of her nephew Mohit Marwah. She decided to spend a couple of days in Dubai to shop for her eldest daughter Janhvi Kapoor's 21st birthday, after the wedding. Her husband Boney Kapoor was not present with them on the wedding day as he had to attend a meeting in Lucknow on 22 February. However he had already planned a surprise visit to his wife, with whom he spoke on the morning of 24 February, when she told him that "Papa (that's how Sridevi addressed Boney), I'm missing you." According to Kapoor, he took a 15:30 flight to Dubai and reached Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel around 18:20 (Dubai time) in room 2201 where the actress was staying. She and Kapoor briefly met and chatted for half an-hour or so. Afterwards they decided to have dinner. Sridevi went to bathe and to get dressed for dinner, while Kapoor waited in a living room. After 15–20 minutes, around 19:00, he called out to the actress as they were getting late but was unable to get a response.
Sridevi was pronounced dead on 24 February 2018 at 19:00 GMT in her hotel room where her husband had found her. At first, it was announced by her brother in-law Sanjay Kapoor to the Indian media that the cause of death was a cardiac arrest, but the investigation to her death began early Sunday morning around 2:30, and the case was transferred to Dubai Public Prosecution by Dubai Police, where General Department of Forensic Evidence, Dubai revealed that the cause of death was "accidental drowning". The toxicology report later also revealed that traces of alcohol were found in her body, and water was found in her lungs.
After rumors that news of her death was an Internet hoax, her brother-in-law, Sanjay Kapoor, confirmed that it was indeed true. Her fans, co-stars and other Bollywood stars posted condolences on Twitter to mourn the death. After a few days of police investigation, on 27 February, Sridevi's case was closed, and on the night of that day, her body was flown back to Mumbai, India. Ashraf Thamarassery, a Keralite who helped bring back her body to India by her husband and her stepson, Arjun Kapoor, on a private jet belonging to Anil Ambani. Her funeral took place on 28 February, at the Vile Parle Seva Samaj Crematorium in Mumbai. The final rites were performed by her husband Boney Kapoor. Sridevi was cremated with state honours and also received a gun salute at her funeral. Her pyre was lit by her husband. On 3 March, Sridevi's ashes were flown into Tamil Nadu via Chennai by her husband and her two daughters Jhanvi and Khushi and later taken to and immersed in the sea off the coast of Rameshwaram.
The film industry, friends, and fans responded to her death through social and other media outlets. Her husband, Boney Kapoor, wrote: “To the world, she was their Chandni, the actor par excellence, their Sridevi, but to me, she was my love, my friend, mother to our girls, my partner. To our daughters, she was their everything, their life. She was the axis around which our family ran." The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi lamented the death of the actress. On social media he stated: "Saddened by the untimely demise of noted actor Sridevi. She was a veteran of the film industry, whose long career included diverse roles and memorable performances. My thoughts are with her family and admirers in this hour of grief. May her soul rest in peace." President Ramnath Kovind wrote: "Shocked to hear of passing of movie star Sridevi. She has left millions of fans heartbroken. Her performances in films such as 'Moondram Pirai', 'Lamhe' and 'English Vinglish' remain an inspiration for other actors. My condolences to her family and close associates."
Many from the film fraternity and close relatives of Sridevi paid homage to her at Celebration Sports Club in Lokhandwala and also at her funeral. Thousands of fans took to streets and paid their respects to the actress. Police had to resort to lathi-charge to control the number of fans who gathered for the procession from Celebration Sports Complex to the crematorium, the crowd was said to be more than 7,000.
Sridevi's funeral is estimated to have attracted the fourth-highest number of mourners, ranking below the three previous biggest funeral processions of non-political film personalities Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Rajesh Khanna in India from Hindi film industry.
In a highly exceptional move, the film actress became one of the few people from the Indian entertainment industry to be accorded with full state honours usually reserved only for current and former prime ministers, union and state ministers. Sridevi was included in 2018 In Memoriam section during the 90th Academy Awards ceremony. On the occasion of Sridevi's birthday on 13 August 2019, Madame Tussauds, Singapore has announced that a wax statue would soon be dedicated to her. The statue is a replica of Sridevi's look in the hit Hindi film song, Hawa Hawai from ‘80s film, Mr India. Her daughters, Janhvi Kapoor and Khushi, were present at the ceremony accompanied by her husband, producer Boney Kapoor.
Sridevi is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actresses of Indian cinema. Due to her pan-Indian appeal, she is cited as one of the most popular actresses of Indian cinema. Highly regarded for her range as an actor, critics have commended particularly her comedic abilities and her skills as a dancer. During the 1980s, Sridevi was the highest earning woman in the Indian entertainment industry. For her role in Mr. India (1987), she was paid a then unprecedented ₹11 lakhs, making her the highest paid Indian actress ever. In a 2013 national poll conducted by CNN-IBN on the occasion of the centenary of Indian cinema, Sridevi was voted "India's Greatest Actress in 100 Years", and she placed tenth in a UK poll, "100 Greatest Bollywood Stars", in the same year. In 2012, Sridevi was placed at the second position by NDTV in the listing of "The most popular Bollywood actresses of all time". Sridevi featured in Box Office India's Top Actresses list for ten consecutive years (1983–93).
An epitaph in Firstpost pointed out that Sridevi had been sufficiently important as an actor to be able to refuse parts in movies, and The News Minute called her "a pathbreaker in many ways". The Guardian called her "the undisputed queen of Indian Cinema" .
"If Sridevi had no other identity beyond the films that she did, the audiences probably have no concept of films in India without her. Irrespective of the era you were born in or the actors you liked, the cosmos of Hindi film fans is divided into two distinctive groups of those like Sridevi and the others. Unlike most other iconic stars that, in a way, took over from their predecessors, Sridevi never really replaced anyone and perhaps it is this aspect that makes her unique and peerless."
-Firstpost on the influence of Sridevi.
Film critic Sukanya Verma described Sridevi as "one of a kind". She wrote, "Sridevi's biggest plus point is her ability to be completely uninhibited in front of the camera."
Sridevi's performances, acting style and technique have been influential and have inspired numerous actresses including Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherji, Juhi Chawla, Karishma Kapoor, Kajol, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Asin, Kajal Aggarwal, Anushka Shetty, Vidya Balan, and Alia Bhatt, who have cited her as an inspiration. In a piece for Time magazine, Priyanka Chopra wrote, "Everyone wanted her and wanted to be like her. She could be childlike, grown up, funny, serious, beguiling, sexy—she was the ultimate actor. She was my childhood, and one of the big reasons I became an actor."
In the Telugu biopic NTR: Kathanayakudu, Sridevi was portrayed by Rakul Preet Singh.