On April 13, Sridevi was honoured with National Film Award in the Best Actress category for her performance in the film Mom. The acclaimed actress, who passed away in February this year, was loved by millions of people across the world. Fashion designer Manish Malhotra collaborated with the celebrated actress on several occasions. To honour her memory, Manish wrote a heartfelt tribute in Vogue India’s April 2018 issue.
Manish recalls the first time he met the legendary actress at Mumbai’s Mehboob Studio as she was dressed in a striking red Amrapali costume. Their work relationship strengthened after they collaborated on the 1993 film Gumrah. He writes, “I recall a time when she tried on an outfit, and it didn’t look quite right. Still new to the industry, I refrained from commenting, but my eyes gave my thoughts away. She coerced the truth out of me. In little ways, she made you feel your opinion mattered, especially when it came from a place of truth.”
It was during Judaai that they became close friends. Sridevi confided in him that she wasn’t sure of working in films anymore. He writes, “But even when she stopped acting, it was on a happy note—she wanted to get married and start a family. During that 15-year gap, from Judaai to when she returned to the silver screen in English Vinglish (2012), we remained in touch. We became particularly close in the last seven years. Whether attending all my shows or being a part of my niece’s wedding, she always returned the love, loyalty and admiration I had for her.”
He always addressed her as Ma’am. He mentions about Sridevi’s relationship with her family and writes, “As a wife, friend and mother to two lovely girls, she always gave her 200 per cent. She was, and I think will forever be, Boney ji, Janhvi and Khushi’s best friend.”
This year, the actress’ daughter Janhvi Kapoor makes her debut in the film industry with Dhadak and Manish is working with her on the same. “It’s funny how life comes full circle. I used to make little cholis and ghagras for the girls when they were younger. Now I’m working with Janhvi on her debut. Much like her mother, she’s a bundle of talent and discipline.”
In conclusion, Manish pens, “She now leaves behind a legacy of exceptional work. I want the world to remember her as who she was—an iconic actor, an exceptional person, someone who had her mind and her heart in the right place. This is the first time I’ve lost someone so close, and it feels surreal. I’d known her for 28 years. We were at a wedding together and then, out of nowhere, her sister Srilatha was handing me a silk sari for her funeral. I spoke to her the night she passed away. We talked about everything under the sun, from Janhvi’s film, how beautiful Khushi looked at the wedding to even what she had eaten earlier that day. Even now, so many days later, I still expect my phone to ring, and to hear her discuss an outfit or a project which we can work on together.”