Published on February 25th, 2018 | by Sandeep Patil1
Sridevi – Three eternal songs
Sridevi was a phenomenon of our generation… they don’t make such phenomenal performers these days. One of the most popular legends about her, was that while giving a shot, she used to be very calm, normal, her usual self to the very last moment; and just immediately after hitting the clap, she would suddenly change her expressions and bearings… and get into the scene! This legend might be very much true … but one should not bother too much to find the truthfulness of legends… for legends are after all woven only around those who deserve them!
And indeed what a talented and versatile actress she was. Who will forget her epic battle of her acting skills with Kamal Hassan in Sadma … as they say, she rules the whole movie and then in the last five minutes, Kamal steals it away from her. What a phenomenal contest that was… indeed they don’t make stuff like that these days!
Sridevi… or Sri, as people loved to call her… was almost the last in the league of what we used to call “the complete actresses” of bygone days … this was a league of actresses like Vaijayanti-mala, Hema-malini, Rekha (interestingly all Tamilians) etc. who were not only accomplished and all-rounder actresses but an equally accomplished dancers! This league ended with Madhuri Dixit, who was a contemporary of Sridevi! Sridevi was senior to her and had already established herself at the no. 1 spot, when Madhuri had arrived on the scene. What we saw for the next decade was a Federer-Nadal style legendary rivalry. While Sri used her all around acting and dancing skills… Madhuri threw her charms at the ‘public‘ (that’s the word!) to challenge Sri’s position! A lot of film magazines never ran out of contents as long as this rivalry for top spot was on between these two divas… and it remained undecided as long as Sri was actively performing. As a passing remark… another respectful commonality between them both, that they knew exactly when to gracefully step down from the top spot!
I guess for a guy in his forties, nothing pulls him down the memory lane into those good, old, peaceful, sans-smartphone days of the eighties-and-nineties like the old Hindi movies or the songs. So, to keep this obituary short and concise… here are only three of my favorite Sridevi songs for everyone to reminisce!
1. Tu mujhe qubool – Khuda Gawah
A highly power-packed song! The most powerful performers of those times – or any times, Amitabh and Sridevi – under an equally powerful director. Mukul Anand was his name, who at his peak was considered in the league Showmen like Subhash Ghai (Dear new-gen, Subhash Ghai before ‘Yaadein’ was a different story, please do not misunderstand). Mukul Anand was one of the masters of lighting… and this is quite evident in this song as well. But what is more evident… or why I love this song so much is… because there are hardly any big activities – let alone dances – in this song… there aren’t even words spoken in most parts… rather the weight of the whole song is silently borne on the unspoken expressions of both the leads. There are only piercing eyes, faint lip curls… and in case of Sri, that amazing timing of raising up those eyes like a flash of sun rays from a blushing face! Amazing!!!
2. Tere mere hothon pe – Chaandani
Another complete song in every aspect! The beautiful landscapes of Switzerland… the eternally romanticized Yash Chopra… the eternal lover Rishi Kapoor… music by legendary Pt. Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasiya (Shiv-Hari)… even the Raag in which this song is composed – named “Pahadi” – has its origins in similarly beautiful Himalayan mountains! Among all these perfect elements… Sri fits equally perfectly. But what is more beautiful about her is, she cannot be stereotyped like the others… she can as well fill in any other frame equally perfectly. Even in this very song, as it begins, as the notes of flute are played … it is impossible to tell when she transcends herself from a mere standing figure into a dancing one!
As I said, everything in this song is done with perfection to it’s last bit! There are beautiful sweaters, their are plain, sweet sarees and those green beautiful carpets adorned with flowers all over! And among this beauty, there is this couple drenched in love, walking together dreamily. Those who owned the record of Chandani in those days (who didn’t) will very well remember that photo on its’ cover!
3. Ae jindagi gale laga le – Sadma
No description can do justice to this song… no description can reach the height of the original song… Gulzar, IllayaRaja, Suresh Wadkar, Kamal Hassan, Sridevi… each an epic in itself. Watching this song, I simply do not understand if I should try to reflect upon Gulzar’s words and try to dive deep in search of the underlying meaning, moreover relate it to the situations on the screen… should I admire the superb performances of the artists … should I feel the tranquillity of those beautiful frames … or should I simply lay back and remember such funny moments with my own daughter! This is one such song, that overwhelms me and in the end makes me sit still – may be just for a couple of second – to let the whole song sink in and to enjoy its tranquilizing effect before switching on to the next number in the list!
Sadma would be remembered as perhaps the best performance of Sridevi. Now, after this day, the way she shocked everybody with her sudden exit… the name “Sadma” will be even closely associated with her! Shraddhanjali!
cover photo: https://www.desktopdress.com