The "Hawa Hawaii" girl made her Bollywood comeback as a homely and dedicated housewife in "English Vinglish". After 15-year sabbatical, with her flawless performance, Sridevi not only won the hearts of millions of middle-class Indian housewives, but also overshadowed the young actresses. Due to her distinguishing performances over the years, it will not be hyperbole to call Sridevi as the first female superstar of Bollywood.

Sridevi was born in Tamil Nadu on August 13, 1963 to Telugu mother Rajeswari and Tamil father Ayyappan. She has a sister and two step brothers. Sridevi married film producer Boney Kapoor and has two daughters, Jhanvi and Khushi.

Sridevi began her career as a child actor before making her debut as a leading lady in 1976 in a Tamil film. But it was 1983 when film ‘Sadma’ brought her recognition in the Hindi cinema.

'Himmatwala' released the same year as 'Sadma' and the audience got to see two different avatars of Sridevi. Her acting prowess was before the world.

Sridevi appeared in double role in Chaalbaaz by playing twin sisters separated at birth. One had a simplistic Indian look, the other was ultra glamorous with a touch street fashion. The variations in her roles got her huge applauds from the critics and her fans in 1989.

But it was Yash Chopra's 'Chandni' which proved to be a turning point in Sridevi's career. The world discovered a new Sri who was sensuous and hot. The film was a blockbuster and cemented Sri's position at the top.

Last but not the least, Sridevi’s “Kaante nahi katte” added more spice to her sensuous avatar. Who can forget Sridevi in that iconic blue saree in 'Mr India'?

Sridevi in her long career has always portrayed variant roles. In 'Lamhe' she played a mother and her daughter's role. Both the characters were distinct from each other. One had Sridevi in traditional Rajasthani attire, the other had a bubbly Sri in off shoulder blouses and skirts.

Post her marriage to Boney Kapoor, Sridevi took a long break from films but appeared briefly in a TV show called 'Malini Iyer' which had her playing a traditional south Indian housewife.

In 2013, Sridevi was awarded the Padma Shri award for her contribution to cinema.

With the passing time, Sri's look has become more elegant and chic. The actress who was once criticized for her loud makeup is lauded for style now. Over the years, the actress has evolved her sense of style. Her sense of fashion is now more westernized. She is now becoming a threat to young actresses as at 50,  Sridevi is looking more like a 30-year-old young woman with her style statement.

On her birthday, here are her top 10 films that made many go weak in the knees:

Jaag Utha Insan (1984): Though it was “Himmatwala” that launched her into stardom in Bollywood, it was this unsuccessful nugget of a film produced by Rakesh Roshan and directed by the inimitable K. Vishwanath, where Sridevi shone as a temple dancer wooed by a Brahmin boy (Rakesh Roshan) and a socio-economically challenged underdog (Mithun Chakraborty). Sridevi danced and emoted as though there was no tomorrow. And as long as she did, we didn't care if there wasn't a tomorrow.

Sadma (1983): The true coming of age of one of India's finest actresses. As a girl, who after an accident regresses into childhood, Sridevi conveyed all the nuances of her character's predicament without getting over-cute. The performance is so accomplished and complete that it never ceases to astonish. Sridevi's formidable co-star Kamal Haasan thinks she did the character even better in the Tamil original “Moondram Pirai”. We could say the same about him.

Nagina (1986): An awful film, but what an impact! Sridevi as a snake-woman slithering on the floor dancing to Amrish Puri's music as Lata Mangeshkar sang the chartbuster “Main teri dushman, dushman tu mera”. Does anyone remember anything else about this hideous Harmesh Malhotra creation?

Janbaaz(1986): It is strange how Sridevi's legendary reputation is built on songs and dances as much as her breathtaking performances. In Feroz Khan's “Janbaaz”, she had a brief role as Feroz's beloved. But her presence in the glowing orange chiffon sari dancing to the sound of “Har kisiko nahin milta”, lingers.

Mr. India (1987):
A turning point in Sridevi's everlasting romance with the camera. Playing the perky journalist, who hates kids, the actress was just amazing. Shekhar Kapur made her do everything we always wanted her to. If Sridevi's comic timing in the Charlie Chaplin impersonation sequence was impeccable, she oozed sensuality in that iconic blue chiffon sari in the song “Kate nahin katt te”.

Chandni(1989): With this film, Sridevi became a Yash Chopra heroine. Thinned down to a chiselled charmer, and sharpening her subtle emotive skills, Sridevi delivered a knockout performance, which straightway propelled her to the top position. The film was an extended showreel of her talent as she danced, sang, giggled and wept for the love of a tragically wheelchair-bound Rishi Kapoor. Seldom has any Yash Chopra heroine made such sumptuous use of the camera space.

ChaalBaaz (1989): The same year as “Chandni”, Sridevi wowed movie buffs with her double role as the docile Anju and the tomboyish Manju. Though Dilip Kumar and Hema Malini had done the same double role before, Sridevi brought an added zest to the role. Pankaj Parashar let the actress have all the fun that she wanted.

Lamhe (1991): Sridevi, as we all know, is addictive. After “Chandni”, Yash Chopra brought her back to the screen in this bold love story of a girl who dares to love a man old enough to be her father. Sridevi played both the mother and the daughter with such distinctive flair that we wondered, could the same actress do so many different spectrums of emotion in the same film?

Army(1996): It is the only film that brought Sridevi face-to-face with Shah Rukh Khan. In this film, there is a sequence where Shah Rukh, playing an army jawaan, is brought home dead. All through the film Shah Rukh plays 'I-am-dead' pranks on Sridevi, so she presumes this is also one of those sick jokes. The way she goes from giggling dismissal to shock and finally a breakdown in that sequence, is a textbook of pitch-perfect acting. Sridevi played a gender-reversed Amjad Khan's role in “Sholay” of a woman, who hires mercenaries to avenge the villain Danny Denzongpa. As it often happened, Sri was far superior to the material offered to her.

Judaai (1997): Her last hurrah before she bowed out to play wife and mother. “Judaai” is a crass melodrama directed by the late Raj Kanwar. It features Sridevi at her absolute best. The way she lifts the most mundane of scenes has to be seen to be believed.

English Vinglish (2012): Her comeback film. It proved once again there will never be another Sridevi.


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