Like Kamal Haasan, Sridevi started her career as a child artiste and went on to become a superstar. She was also rare in the way she conquered the Hindi audience after acting in many South Indian films. In his condolence message through a video release, Kamal, who acted in 37 films with her, recounted his memories with her. “Her astonishing career was not luck, it was well-deserved for her hard work. She was still a child when she came to work with me,” he said, recalling that film director Balachander had asked him to help Sridevi with acting and dancing.
“When she came, she was not so talented. But she worked hard. Our paths diverted when she became a superstar in Hindi. She acted in 37 movies with me,” he said. Recalling their last meeting a month ago, he said that while both of them were not prone to show of emotions, they hugged when they met. “I am grateful for that,” Kamal said.
“The Sadma song rings in my ears now. I think that’s the great lullaby for the great Sridevi,” he said, referring to the Yesudas song Surmayi ankhiyon mein from the 1983 hit movie. “She had a happy life, my deepest condolences for the family. I know they loved her very much, I know she loved her daughter, I used to make fun of them seeing their love,” he said.
Rajinikanth said he could not believe the news of her death. “I knew her for almost 40 years. Behind the camera, Sridevi was always a silent girl who would peacefully listen to others. But before the camera, she would transform, like a fire. She did not know a single word in Hindi when she went to Bollywood. Still she became a successful actor in Hindi too. She was one of my very few close friends,” he said.
Film and theatre artiste Y G Mahendra, who acted with Sridevi in many movies, told The Indian Express that she was a rare combination of beauty and talent. “Seeing her acting as a child artiste, everyone knew she will become a great actor,” he said. “Conquering Hindi audience was not easy those days, that too after acting in so many Tamil movies. She successfully achieved it,” he said.
Seema Sasi, actor and wife of Malayali film director I V Sasi, recalled, “On the shooting sets, she will not ask for a second chapati from her mother, but just look at her. Her mother would give the second chapati if she was allowed to have it. That was the discipline. She was always her mom’s pet. We used to tease her for that.”
Seema’s late husband Sasi directed 18 movies starring Sridevi. “They were great friends. Once, Sridevi was passing as Sasi was on a shooting set in Chennai. By that time, she was successful in Hindi cinema. When she saw him, she stopped and rushed to meet him. Sasi was so happy for the gesture.”