Madhan Bob, comedian
My all time favourite Sridevi films are Johnny and the classic Moondram Pirai. Sridevi was always a stunner because of her expressive face. Sometimes, actors can look ugly while crying. But Sridevi always knew how to cry beautifully. I was fortunate to have met her. There was a scene when she appeared first as a youngster and then an adult. She was in the same costume and makeup for both, but she looked like two completely different people…and her eyes and face expressed everything.
Anil Srinivasan, pianist
Moondram Pirai, Chaalbaaz (1989), and English Vinglish are three of my favourite Sridevi films. I had met her twice at award shows where I was also performing, and she was the chief guest. She was so dignified and graceful. She’s like the Meryl Streep of Indian Cinema — capable of pulling off any role that came her way. Watching her in Meendum Kokila (1981), you’d believe that she is really an Iyer maami. She was so in character. From there to Hawa Hawaii and all those glamorous roles — she occupied popular imagination from the 70s till now. I wasn’t expecting to hear the news of her death. I know it sounds clichéd, but it’s a personal loss for me, like it is for so many others.
Kavithalaya Krishnan, TV actor
Sridevi was born to act. She was the ultimate actress who made acting seem effortless. I didn’t know her personally but was fortunate to watch her work on two iconic films, Moondru Mudichu (1976) and Moondram Pirai. I was a spectator on set. It was obvious to everyone that she was a natural, director’s actress. The camera loved her. She simply exploded on screen and that sparkle in her was special and unmatched. Sridevi defined romance for a whole generation. She ruled this cinema-obsessed land as no other did and no other will. To her family and friends, she is no more, but every time I watch the song Devi, Sreedevi (Vazhvey Maayam, 1982), my spirits will always dance. Whenever I watch her mischievous self, as Kamal Hasan sings her Kanne Kalaimaaney (Moondram Pirai), my heart will always smile. They will make me fall in love with Sridevi all over again.
Madhuvanthi Arun, theatre artiste
I have not been able to get over this. I have been glued to the TV since morning and was somehow wishing that it was all just a rumour. My favourite film in Hindi is Lamhe (1991), in which she portrays both the mother and daughter...and that is not easy. And in Tamil, it is Meendum Kokila (1981) with Kamal Hassan where she plays the role of an orthodox Brahmin woman. The list goes on…you can’t just stop with one film. From all her older movies to the recent English Vinglish, she is somebody who is synonymous to the film industry.
YGee Mahendra, theatre and film actor
I had the honour of acting with her in movies like Pokkiri Raja (1982), Guru (1989) and Moondram Pirai. Though she was one the top actresses at the time, whenever we interacted, she was the same, child-like Sridevi we knew. She was such a rare combination of beauty, grace and intelligence. The last time I spoke to her was to wish her success for English Vinglish. She will always be remembered as one of the finest artists of the country.
AVIS Viswanathan, life coach & happiness curator
When I used to work with India Today, she called the office to speak to a photographer, who was also her friend. I answered the call and asked who it was. She said, “Sri” and I asked “Sri-who?” She said “Sridevi”. And it didn’t register that it was her. I was so humbled when I found out, because you’d think a star will have 10 managers to call someone in the media, but she wasn’t trapped in that role of an actor. When I got a notification on my phone about her death, I was stumped. There’s still this sense of emptiness, and a feeling that this can’t be true.
Sujatha Narayanan, columnist, TNIE
Sridevi could carry off glamour, drama, comedy and emotion with great aplomb. As Kamal Haasan once remarked that she was a bag full of tricks — Sridevi gave her best tricks to every movie outing of hers. Coming from an era which had lengthier dialogues and histrionics than what is in vogue today, Sridevi adapted herself to changing times and made a winner out of English Vinglish. She saw superstardom at an all India level unsurpassed by any other heroine — a South Indian actor making it big in Hindi and remaining on top right till the end. I would’ve loved to see her act with filmmakers of today in roles which needed her to indulge less in her bag of tricks and dip in more to her own innate grace and charm, of which she possessed a great deal. Watch her match steps and comic timing with Kamal Haasan in the rip roaring Telugu film Oka Radha Iddaru Krishnudu (dubbed as Hare Radha Hare Krishna in Tamil) which is not easy, or match her emotions with Rajinikanth in Johnny…that particular scene where he turns down her proposal to marry him. Sridevi gave the word magic a whole new meaning.
Indu Sethi, owner, Surang
It was just after the release of English Vinglish (2012) that Sridevi visited our shop. Her sister is our regular customer. So Sridevi stepping in to our shop was not a surprise. She wanted to buy some clothes for her daughters. We were busy with customers then but she was patient. She was sweet, down to earth and soft-spoken. She did not behave like a star at all! She even obliged for a photograph. We felt really good that day that the biggest star of possibly the whole of India had walked in to our shop. I have watched all of her Hindi films and my favourite is English Vinglish!