This dates back to year 2000 when I was in grade two. A dance competition was announced at school and I began searching for songs. I reached back home in the afternoon to my parents watching Mr India. After a while, Hawa Hawai was all over the TV screen. I couldn’t take my eyes off Sridevi’s wondrous expressions and her dreamy performance. My instant reaction was that I want to become a dancer like Sridevi. This became my first answer to the childhood question, “What do you want to become when you grow old?”.
Days later, I won my first dance competition dancing to Hawa Hawai. The craze only grew. I went to the recording shop to get all Sridevi hit songs recorded in a cassette. Home work went for a toss. There wasn’t a single day, I didn’t dance to her lovely songs. Her stardom was infectious. I never missed her films on TV. In fact, I remember collecting her posters and writing letters praising the Hawa Hawai girl.
My childhood was glorious and colourful with the presence of heartthrobs like Madhuri and Sridevi. But I stuck to Sridevi with an undivided loyalty. Her power packed performances with those expressive eyes and perfect comic timing made her my all-time favourite star. I copied the style diva in every manner. Dressing up like Sridevi was the feeling of being a star.
Honestly, I am yet to watch many of her hit films in both regional cinema and Bollywood but not one film of Sridevi failed to impress me. Whether be it her Michael Jackson moment in films like Chaalbaaz and English Vinglish or her “Wohi toh” dialogue in Judaai, my childhood hobby was to imitate her all the time. Her magical presence on screen still feels fresh and alive. Her joyful dancing and mischievous smile will remain forever in my heart.
Years later in 2012 when she made a comeback with English Vinglish, I was sure that even in her second innings, she will rule like never before. Both her films English Vinglish and last year’s Mom was an absolute treat to all cinegoers.
Following the news of her demise on Sunday morning, I once again relived 90s listening to her songs on repeat, watched English Vinglish umpteen number of times and danced to Hawa Hawai remembering my special day. The Roop ki rani will always be a star and a dancing mentor to me.
Thank you, Sridevi. Thank you for giving us an era of good cinema, dance and magic.
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