Sridevi @ 60, “There Was No One Like Her,” Says Her Co-stars
Nagarjuna, Jeetendra & Shatrughan Sinha Remember Srivedi On Her 60th Birthday! (Picture Credit: Instagram & IMDB)

If destiny didn’t have other plans, Sridevi would have been 60 today. Filmmakers would have been tripping over one another to write roles for her.

“I don’t see anyone coming anywhere close to her. She is irreplaceable and so much missed after her departure. I had the privilege of working with her. She was electrifying on screen. I don’t know what miracle happened to her when she faced the camera. She would transform from this quiet silent observer to a dazzling star. Directors see her as a reference point to spontaneous acting. ‘Do like Sridevi,’ directors tell the new actresses,” says Telugu superstar Nagarjuna.

Shatrughan Sinha is full of admiration for Sridevi, “Something would happen when she faced the camera. She changed into another face. I played her leading man in Harmesh Malhotra’s Sherni where she was the sherni and I was the bakra. The entire script revolved around her character. I was just a side actor in Sherni. I was asked why I did the film. I had a one-word answer. Sridevi, There will never be another like her.”

Veteran actor Jeetendra with whom Sridevi’s stardom started in Himmatwala remembers the circumstances that fetched her the role. He recalled, “The original Telugu version of Himmatwala had starred Jaya Prada. But for some reasons we were committed to re-launching Sridevi in the Hindi remake. It was a very awkward situation for me. Jaya Prada was already a big star in Telugu. To tell her she is not doing the Hindi version was difficult. Director K Raghavendra Rao and I went to her and explained why we had to sign Sridevi for Himmatwala.”

He added, “Jaya Prada was upset but she accepted the situation. I had seen her playing the romantic lead with the legendary Telugu actor N T Rama Rao who was three times her age. She did the romantic scenes with the confidence of a pro. Not for a moment did she look so much younger than NTR. The we did Himmatwala together. I was almost twice her age. She treated me with utmost respect . And what a fabulous dancer! During the shooting of Nainon Mein Sapna and Taki Oh Taki, the dance assistant would show the steps to both of us. She would get them right in no time. It took me time to get them right. We did seventeen films together.”

The late Rishi Kapoor who did some of his best work with Sridevi in Chandni, recalled his initial reservations about his role. “I told Yash Chopra, ‘Yashji, Chandni is Sridevi’s film all the way. What do I have to do?’ But I am glad I worked with her. She was the rarest of the rare actor who could do anything,” he had shared.

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