Sridevi, born on August 13, 1963 in Sivakasi (Tamil Nadu) and died on February 24, 2018 in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), is an Indian actress and producer.
She began her career at the age of four and made more than 250 films in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam, becoming the most famous Indian actress of the 1980s. After Judaai released in 1997, she interrupted her career for fifteen years then returned to the screens in 2012 with English Vinglish.
Sridevi, whose real name is Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan, was born in Sivakasi in the state of Tamil Nadu, on August 13, 1963. She grew up in a wealthy family where both Tamil and Telugu are spoken. Her father Ayyapan is a lawyer and her mother Rajeswari takes care of her and her sister Srilatha. She quickly interrupted her studies to devote herself to her career.
Sridevi started very young it was by pure chance that she began her career at the age of four in a Tamil film, Kandhan Karunai, in which she portrayed the god Murugan. However, the profession attracts her and in parallel with school, she obtains a few small children's roles in Telugus and Tamil films. It was not until 1976 that she got her first real role under the direction of K. Balachander in the film Moondru Mudichualongside two names that will quickly become famous, Kamal Hassan and a certain Rajnikanth. The young actress connects the successes, often alongside the same two actors Kamal Hassan and they form a couple very appreciated in the Tamil industry. While she was the number 1 Tamil actress in the late 1970s, Sridevi set out to conquer Telugu cinema. She plays there with the greatest heroes of the time, from NT Rama Rao (NTR) to A. Nageswara Rao (ANR) via Krishna, with whom she shares the poster many times. In 1978, she attempted a foray into Bollywood with the film Solva Saawan, a remake of her Tamil success 16 Vayathinile, but which ended in a bitter failure at the box office. Finally, starting in 1983, Sridevi managed to have the success it deserved in the north, thanks to films like Himmatwala alongside Jeetendra but above all Sadma, Hindi remake of Moondram Pirai. Critics applaud Sridevi's interpretation of the woman-child and this role earned her her first nomination for the Filmfare Award. Throughout the 1980s, Sridevi appeared in huge box office successes, confirming her as one of the icons of this period, as much appreciated for her talents as for her beauty, as evidenced by her nickname of the Thunder Thighs era, which could be trivially translated as "Thighs of Thunder".
One of her greatest successes arrives in 1986 with Nagina who makes her famous for her dance of the snake, remained in the annals, and makes it possible to prove to the directors and the producers that she can carry a film on her only shoulders.
In 1987, the blockbuster Mr India was released, a phenomenal success that left its mark. She reveals in this film, still very appreciated, a new facet of her talent and shows herself gifted in the register of comedy.
Coming from an environment totally foreign to cinema, it is by chance that Sridevi, barely four years old, turns in Kandan Karunai (AP Nagarajan), a Tamil mythological film in which she interprets the god Murugal as a child. The experience pleases her and she continues to play small roles in Tamil films, Telugu and then Malayalams. She obtained her first important role in 1976 in Moondru Mudichu (Kailasam Balachander) alongside two southern cinema superstars, Kamal Hassan and Rajnikanth. Subsequently she found the two actors on several occasions, and in particular Kamal Hassan with whom she formed one of the most popular cinema couples, shooting together 23 films among which we can cite 16 Vayathinile (Kailasam Balachander, 1977), Sigappu Rojakkal (Bharathi Raja, 1978) and Moondram Pirai (Balu Mahendra, 1982). She had successes reaching consecration with Pathinaru Vayathinile (Bharatiraja, 1977), the first Tamil film shot outside studios.
At the same time, Sridevi leads a very active career in the Telugu cinema where she frequently turns under the direction of K. Raghavendra Rao with regional celebrities such as NT Rama Rao, A. Nageswara Rao or Krishna. She is also very present on the Kerala sets where she often works with the director IV Sasi and meets success with films like Aadhyapaadam, Aalinganam, Kuttavum Sikshaiyum, Aa Nimisham.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Sridevi was an undisputed and omnipresent superstar in the cinema of southern India, where she made 15 to 20 films a year.
The first two Hindi films shot by Sridevi prove to be disappointing: the first, Julie (1975) offers her only a secondary role and the second, Solva Saawan (1978) is a commercial failure. She therefore waits until her career is well established in the South, and that of Hema Malini and Rekha decline, before accepting Himmatwala (K. Raghavendra Rao, 1983). This is success: her appearance in a swimsuit earned her the nickname "Thunder Thighs" ("Thighs voluptuous").
The same year leaves Sadma (Balu Mahendra, 1983), Hindi remake of Moondram Pirai where she finds Kamal Hassan. She interprets the character of a young woman who returns to childhood after an accident and a shy teacher saves from a brothel to tenderly care for her. The film is appreciated by critics but shunned by the public. This encourages Sridevi to continue in lighter films where she brings the glamor touch essential to any Bollywood production, a task which she performs with great efficiency alongside actors such as Amitabh Bachchan or Jeetendra with whom she shoots. 19 films.
In 1986 Nagina came out (Harmesh Malhotra) in which she left a lasting impression thanks to her astonishing and sensual interpretation of La danse du serpent (Main Teri Dushman Dushman tu Mera Main Nagin Tu Sapera). The following year she won a fabulous success in Mr India of Shekhar Kapur: opposite Anil Kapoor she knows how to show too seductive in Hawa Hawai that funny in her imitation of Charlie Chaplin. With these films, Sridevi becomes the undisputed queen of Bollywood, the writers write for her and she is the highest paid actress in Indian cinema.
The year 1989 sees her appear in Chandni, a fantasy by Yash Chopra then in Chaalbaaz by Pankaj Parashar in which she plays two twin sisters. This double role allowed her to finally receive the Filmfare Award for the best actress, a prize which she received again two years later for her performance in Yash Chopra's Lamhe. She plays the roles of the woman loved in vain by Anil Kapoor, then of her daughter with whom he also falls in love with her defending body. As she did in Moondram Pirai and Sadma, Sridevi excels in the interpretation of a woman child in this sensitive and impeccably produced film, considered one of the greatest successes of Yash Chopra and which critics praise. Contrary to custom, despite his commercial failure in India, he won five awards at the 1992 Filmfare Awards.
Despite some successes - Gumrah (1993), Laadla (1994) and Deva Raagam (1996) - the following years were mainly those of failures or half-successes, Sridevi seeing himself gradually overshadowed by Madhuri Dixit. She turned Judaai (Raj Kanwar) in 1997 then, as is tradition for Indian actresses, ends her career after her marriage. However Sridevi remains one of the biggest stars of Indian cinema: having made films in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam, she has imposed herself as well on the public of North India as on that of South, which remain clearly distinct.
After 15 years of absence, Sridevi made a remarkable comeback on the screens in 2012 with English Vinglish, Gauri Shinde's first film. She interprets there an Indian mother expatriated in the United States who becomes emancipated by attending an English course for adults.
The February 24, 2018, Sridevi accidentally drowns in the tub of the 2201 suite at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. After a short police investigation to determine the causes of her death, her body was returned to Bombay on February 27, 2018 in the Reliance group private jet. She was exhibited for a few hours the next day for a public tribute to which anonymous and cinema celebrities throng. Sridevi is cremated at Vile Parle Seva Samaj crematorium on February 28, 2018according to a Hindu rite.
On June 2, 1996, Sridevi married producer Boney Kapoor, becoming the sister-in-law of Anil Kapoor with whom she had toured many times. The couple have two daughters, Jhanvi and Khushi, who bear the first names of the heroines of Judaai (1997) and Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai (2000), films produced by their father.