I guess this must be my first post that was inspired by a video shared on FaceBook. But this is a video that for most people in their 40s and 50s will wash away the vagaries of time and age and remind them of a time when they were more innocent.
Two things about this video strike me.
Firstly, that Sridevi’s children got to see just how amazingly famous and popular their mother was, or should I now say “is”. All their lives they have only seen their mom at home. Yes, she’s beautiful. Yes, she was an actress. But to them, she’s, most probably, just mom. She’s the one who comes to the PTA at school. She is the one who cooks their food. She is the one who drives them too and back from various classes. She is the one who they run to when their heart is broken. It is hard to imagine that this person was the stuff of fantasies of an entire generation. It is hard to imagine that people would queue up and pay twice, sometime three times, the price of a movie ticket just to see her on screen. It is hard to imagine that mom was once famous and drooled over.
Rumors have it that Michael Jackson wanted to do the last series of concerts for his kids. He wanted them to know just how famous their dad had been. MJ never got that moment. But Sridevi did. Today, she is no longer just mom. She is mom who is Sridevi.
Secondly, she has turned out to be the bimbo that wasn’t. Growing up, it was tough to take Sridevi seriously. Her movies were, for the most part, silly masala films. So Sridevi never registered on my radar. In typical fashion, based on what I saw of her on-screen persona, I dismissed her as a bimbo. When she got married and walked off into the sunset, it never registered as an important moment. After all, she was just a Hindi movie actress.
But along the way, she had, unknown to me, left me some great memories. There is Sadma, a movie that pretty much shaped the way I look at differently abled persons. Her portrayal in the movie was so moving and so nuanced that it has stayed with me over the years. Then there are the almost iconic song and dance routines, which formed the backdrop to my growing years. Be it her Hawa Hawaii from Mr. India or the silly number in Himmatwala or the romantic songs from Chandini, these songs formed the background score my growing years and today they remind me of my siblings and the wonderful moments we shared.
After her innings was done, she walked away gracefully, created a family and, if what little I read of movie magazines are to be believed, she is an incredible mom. It takes guts to walk away from the kind of adulation she was the recipient of. It always impresses me when someone can take difficult decisions.
Marriage and motherhood are especially hard on women. At the prime of their lives they have to choose between career success or children, a choice most men are never confronted with. People like Sridevi, put their family above their ambitions and when they make a success of it, it is like magic.
Her successful return to the limelight is an inspiration to people grappling with the choice between family and career (and I don’t mean just women). The obvious pleasure her kids take in their mother’s success would not have come if it wasn’t for the fact that she let it all go so she could be mom first.
So after all these years of dismissing the bimbo, I now take notice of a woman who made a success of her life in a tough, unforgiving world.