When news of Bollywood actress Sridevi’s death in Dubai spread like wildfire late Saturday evening, it understandably met with shock and disbelief.
She was only 55 and looked hale and hearty. Sridevi was in the UAE for a family wedding and was seen cheerfully greeting people in videos circulating on social media.
What followed though was pure grief from all over the world and a collective feeling of “gone too soon”. India’s ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri, was the first to confirm and condole the death:
“Absolutely shocked to get the report about untimely demise of #Sridevi. Conveyed my condolences to the family. Our consulate in Dubai is working with local authorities to provide all possible assistance”, he wrote in the tweet.
Outpouring of grief
Absolutely shocking and heartbreaking to hear about the demise of Sridevi, Indian cinema has lost the most talented actress. “My heart is still not ready to accept this shocking news and my prayers are with the family,” said Manoj Prasad, Executive Chairman & CEO Que Capital Limited – DIFC.
The UAE-based businessman remembered one of Sridevi’s most enduring Hindi movie roles in which he played the title character Chandni, “Chandni you will be alive forever,” said Prasad.
Like most people, Priyanka Khimani, woke up to find out what had happened and first imagined it to be some kind of hoax or fake news. “In a short span of time I could see my social media and news feed flooded with reports from various sources confirming that it unfortunately is true,” she said.
Khimani said it is impossible to pick one single outstanding memory of Sridevi. “My earliest memory of her dates back to Mr. India [one of Sridevi’s biggest blockbusters]. As a young kid and later as a teenager, I must’ve watched the film countless times,” she said. Khimani is Partner at Mumbai-based law firm Anand and Anand & Khimani.
According to Khimani, what stands out is her courage to move out of the limelight when she was at the helm of her career and then returned 15 years later in a completely non-glamorous role yet managing to steal hearts.
“A move like this stems from deep confidence in one’s ability and talent, and it’s certainly not for the faint hearted,” she said.
The news of Sridevi has also left the entire Bollywood fraternity in grief most of whom took to social media to express themselves. Kamal Haasan, who was among her earliest co-stars when she appeared in South Indian movies, delivered a teary-eyed message to her fans and family.
“She was very fond of me, and I was very fond of her. She worked in 27 films with me. The moments I had with her were all in films,” Haasan said. Movie stars were joined by politicians, cricketers, journalists and writers from all over India.
They were all saddened by the loss of a Bollywood icon who remained the queen of hearts – in life and in death. Sridevi’s body is likely to be flown to Mumbai, India, for funeral on Sunday, pending completion of local formalities.