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.
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!