An artist par excellence.

English Vinglish

 

I was never a  great fan of Sridevi, or Madhuri Dixit, for that matter, or any other actress of that era. I mean, the 80s and the  90s. Back then, watching movies in the theatre was a strict no-no for us kids. Yes, we did go for the rare film along with either mom, or dad, but that, too, after a lot of cajoling. Cajoling our parents to allow us one  movie!

That’s the reason, I haven’t seen many of Sridevi’s  films. I did admire  her varied performances in Sadma,  Lamhe, Chalbaaz, Mr. India and Chandni, to name a few, but, that’s it. However, It was only her last two films after she returned to the silver screen, that really caught my eye.

The first being English Vinglish, and the second, Mom.

What struck me about English Vinglish was the similarity between Shashi Godbole’s story and mine.

A modest homemaker, she runs a  laddoo making business from home.  However, being a simpleton, her achievements find her no admirers in her husband, or her daughter. Instead, she gets ridiculed for her lack of English- speaking skills, and disrespected for  her unsophistication.

This story  so resembled mine, as well as that of  countless women out there whose life revolves around their family. Simple, modest homemakers who give a major chunk of their time to their families and the remaining tiny part to  the little dreams they dare to follow.

Sridevi brought alive the simplicity, the unsophisticatedness of so many of us homemakers, who lose their identities in the mad rush of Life, get taken for granted for all that they do for their families and achieve nothing but disrespect.

Some of us strive to carve an identity for ourselves through a small business, or a blog (like yours truly!), but rarely do we receive the appreciation, the admiration or the respect we so yearn. Well, it’s just too insignificant an activity, after all! Be it a  laddoo making business,  or a petty  blog, we aren’t part of the corporate sector making a few lakhs a month, are we?

And, oh, how we lose our confidence thanks to the lives we lead!

That scene at the cafeteria, where Shashi gets ticked off at the counter – that could have been me, or someone like me! I fell in love with Sridevi in that one scene, when she rushes out of the cafe, tears streaming down her cheeks, her hands trembling, her face a crumpled mass of pain and hurt!

I am not very well versed about her filmography from her first innings, but she did choose the best movie to ride back into the hearts of her legions of fans. Those almond eyes that speak volumes, that face which transforms itself in a blink of an eye, and that little jig she regales her son with in the movie.

Sridevi was Shashi Godbole!

Today, she is no more. And, there are a lot of discussions going on about the hows and the whys of her end. So many of us have passed judgements about her life from the high pedestals we place ourselves on!

Well, how she was in her personal life is (was) her business. How she may have lived her life, how she may have been insecure about her career. …well, frankly, it’s really none of our business either dissecting it or commenting on it.

Do we live perfect lives, ourselves? Are we perfect?

The bitter  truth is, she is gone, suddenly, unexpectedly, leaving behind a shattered family and  heartbroken admirers. My heart goes out to her daughters – little girls who are at an age when their mom should have been by their side, guiding them, supporting them. I wonder how those girls will take this loss, how they will survive without their most important support system!?

Let’s all just pray for her soul to find the peace it deserves, and for strength to her family in their time of crisis. God knows how much support and prayers they all need right now!

Let’s also just remember this great artist, who lit up the screen with her dazzling performance and swept us all off our feet!

May her soul rest in peace.

P.S.

I will keep revisiting English Vinglish for the  inspiration and the encouragement it gives me. God knows how much I yearn for that one look of respect in my spouse’s eyes, the kind Shashi  elicits in her spouse at the end of the film!

 

33 Replies to “An artist par excellence.”

  1. Same as you Sridevi will always be Shashi for me. The character in whom I saw my (unappreciated) mother and I saw me. I also saw myself in Shashi’s daughter’s character and this is how mean teenagers can be. That restaurant scene, I cried watching it for the first few times. It was during the times my self confidence was at all time low and there I was on the screen. Sridevi portrayed Shashi’s simplicity like no one else could do. I didn’t know her personally or knew about her lifestyle or anything else which is being talked about, but It feels like I have lost a strong connect.
    PS (from a friend) – The time you will stop looking for that admiration in your spouse’s eyes, that will be liberating manifolds, I can vouch for it. And you can work at this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Agree English Vinglish was in some a way a representation of most women out there!!! We could relate to it all. And I dont think anyone could have portrayed it as well as her. I loved Mom too, the calm form of agression, her expressions spoke volumes. Her death is a loss to all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I watched ‘Sadma’ yesterday. I felt so guilty that she is gone and I have not watched this gem of a movie yet. It was indeed a gem. A tear jerking timeless film. Her innocent acting is just magic.

    We do yearn for respect and yes, English Vinglish is such an inspiration. Will watch this today. 🙂 Lamhe is on my list too.

    Media speculations and news are worst these days. They have no responsibility. No human ethics. Infuriated. Angered. Boycotted all those news channels that are showing stupid speculations for TRP. Rubbish. Trash.

    And at the end, this post did leave me teary eyed. You are awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very candidly penned Shilpa, this was earnest and touched the heart♥️. I am her fan real fan and she will forever remain my favorite. I love her as Shashi as well in most of her sensitive roles. May her soul rest in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. English Vinglish is really a film worth watching. And her best line, ‘Only you can help yourself’ is something I believe in. Sridevi acted so well in the movie that it didn’t feel like she is acting at all. I have not seen many of her movies in theaters but the ones I saw was Majaal and Suhaagan. But, they are typical 80s movies. I liked her best in Sadma, Lamhe, Mr. India. There is also an offbeat Malayalam movie starring her and Arvind Swami called Devaragam. She is excellent in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with your assessment of her portrayal of Sashi – this movie is one of her most stellar perfomrances as per me! Her expressions and beauty charmed me to no end in this movie and I became a fan – I have been a die hard Juhi and Madhuri fan but this movie, Sridevi captivated me!!

    Well penned ode Shilpa and I agree- media should shut up and stop this hounding of the issue of her death…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Shalz. I too liked Madhuri and Juhi at times, but Sridevi grabbed the spotlight with this one movie. Such a simple character and just look at the attention she received for portraying her? Awesome, indeed!

      Like

  7. Sridevi lit up the scene. So versatile, great dancer and emoter while being a recluse and introvert. I loved so many of her movies and English Vinglish worked for all of us. In Shashi I saw my mum, who was well respected by her husband and us. You will have to read my post to understand what. 😊 Her passing away affected me very differently and I think she is the only filmstar I wrote a tribute to.

    PS Hugs, Shilpa. Men are not emotional beings and sometimes they just don’t understand the little things that we want. Maybe try telling your husband and who knows he may have never seen it from that perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Rachna. I wasn’t an ardent admirer of Sridevi, but there was something about her that made me write a tribute to her, too! She was really a blessed soul!

      Thank you for your kind words, Rachna. I agree, men think differently, so may be I am wrong in looking at it that way. Maybe I need to learn to respect myself first before expecting others to do so! 😛

      Will read your post soon, sweetie! ❤

      Like

  8. English Vinglish was well relatable to me too. I’m sure most women had the same feeling, that Sridevi was portraying them on the screen as Shashi. I have seen her many movies in Malayalam and Tamil, and of course, Hindi. My mom is her ardent fan and we have heard many a stories about her films and her life, how she acted as an adult when she was a mere 13 years old, etc. Her sudden demise was a shock to everyone. All these speculations and judgments on how she led her life is completely insane. Sridevi was such a great artist who left a mark on so many hearts. Her death is a loss, and more so to her family.

    Shilpa, your blog is not at all petty. I understand the looking for appreciation from your spouse part, but don’t ever forget that this “petty” blog of yours gave you much more than an appreciation. Come on yaar, people from all over the world know you (Agree, Not all people, but so so many people) just through your words and art works. That’s not just great, it is awesome and ecstatic and unique and you know, you should treat yourself as the queen that you are, give that modesty a bit of break, okay? ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for that reprimand, Vini! That’s just what my bestie has always told me, you know? Yes, I agree with what you say. I also know that respecting, or admiring someone should come naturally to people. However, respecting and admiring ourselves is what really matters. I am a bit low on the morale front these days, Vini. Maybe that’s why these words tumbled out of my heart. But, as Anamika and my bestie say, looking for respect and admiration from others is what I must stop doing and liberate myself ! I may not always match up to people’s expectations, isn’t it?
      Thank you so much, sweetie! ❤

      Like

    1. This actress, Sridevi, was indeed a fascinating artist who wowed us Indians with her acting and her dancing skills. Her sudden death has been a shock to all, one that will take some time to be accepted by her admirers.

      Like

  9. Just like you I had not watched too many Sridevi movies. I started watching movies much later when both Sridevi and Madhuri had taken a sabbatical. The only 2 movies of Sridevi that I watched in a theatre are English vinglish and Mom. I loved both and I loved Sashi and felt she was me. And I loved her relationship with that French actor. I would always remember Sridevi as Sashi.
    Incidentally Sridevi lived very near to.my place and last 3 days were nightmare for us. We couldn’t step our of the house due to the media frnezy. Today I went and paid my homage to her mortal remains. May she RIP.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is it? It must feel like you lost a neighbour, Balaka! I too felt so bad, it was unbelievable when I read the news! In fact, I thought it was a hoax, like all other times when some sick minds on the Internet “kill” a celebrity , just for fun.
      I am still unable to digest the news.
      It’s really sad, but that’s life. When one’s time comes to leave this world, one has to go, regardless of whether you have been a celebrity, a king or a pauper.

      May she rest in peace.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She lived nearby but I never saw her before. It is unfortunate that the only time I saw her was when she was in a casket. It is sad and I really feel sorry for the girls. As you know I also lost my Mom when I was almost the age of these girls. Losing mom is the worst thing that can happen to anybody. May the girls find strenghth.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I am no fan of Sridevi and frankly the only movie of hers I really watched was english Vinglish – but it was definitely not for her. I am amazed at the all hoo ha that people are making abvout Sridevi’s death. People die all the time and what’s the big deal about Sridevi? Eventually I still feel that she was a home breaker and just an ordinary film star…. Of course I feel sorry for her family but that’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

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