Of superstardom and controversies: Lesser-known facts about Sridevi
Bollywood superstar Sridevi, known for films like Chandni, Sadma, Mr. India and Himmatwala, unexpectedly passed away in Dubai late on Saturday. She was 54 and reportedly died of a massive cardiac arrest. In a prolific career spanning 36 years, she acted in around 300 films. As India mourns the untimely loss of a legendary icon, here are some lesser-known facts about her.
Sridevi was her screen name, that too misspelt. In real life, she wrote her name as Shreedevi. Her actual name was Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan. Her father was Tamil and mother Telugu. She started acting at 4, got her first break in Tamil devotional film Thunaivan. She started starring as the female lead with another Tamil project, Moondru Mudichu. She was only 13 then.
She debuted in the Hindi film industry with Julie (1975). Sridevi couldn't speak fluent Hindi. Her native language was Tamil. Actors Naaz and Rekha have dubbed for several of her films. Sri dubbed for her role for the first time in Chandni. She wasn't the first choice for two landmark films of her career. Jaya Prada was first offered Nagina, and Rekha Chandni.
Her popularity was such that she featured in 33 Hindi films between 1983 and 1987. She was even offered a role in Steven Spielberg's iconic Jurassic Park (1993). However, she refused the role saying she didn't find it meaty enough. Sri was known for her dedication. While shooting Na Jaane Kaha Se Aayi Hai, the superhit song in Chalbaaz (1989), she had 103°C fever.
She allegedly privately wed Mithun Chakraborty, who was already married to Yogeeta Bali. On finding out about their secret wedding, Yogeeta reportedly tried to commit suicide, forcing Mithun to sever all ties with Sri. Heartbroken, she found solace in Boney Kapoor, another married man. Sridevi was reportedly pregnant with Jhanvi when Boney's first wife Mona Kapoor found out about their relationship.
Boney and Sri's love story sparked off during filming Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja. Made at Rs. 1.5 crore, it tanked but marked a turning point in Sri's personal life. Boney's first family could never accept his new wife. Arjun Kapoor, Boney and Mona's son, said on TV that he could never have a cordial relationship with Sri or his half-sisters.
Among several other superstars, Sridevi has also acted with the late Tamil Nadu supremo Jayalalithaa in 1971 devotional Tamil film Aathi Parashakti. She was awarded the Padma Shri in January in 2013. She played Rajinikanth's stepmother in the Tamil film Moondru Mudichu. She was only 13 then. Her last movie would be Shah Rukh Khan's upcoming Zero, in which she does a cameo.