Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Jeetendra & Sridevi

"...Came the 80s with now te1evision coming into its own. The authors now note, “dominated by family socials and regressive characters and story lines, commercial cinema in the eighties went through what is known as the ‘dark age’”.

Form and content lost originality and films, the authors say “assembled Vaudeville entertainment, consisting of big-budget song numbers with fantastic sets, comedy sketches that at times had nothing to do with the plot…”

Films of the early nineties do not seem very different from those of the earlier decade, with most films characterised by lavish sets, elaborate song sequences, fantastical and often caricaturish villains with ponderous dialogues...."

Pondering on the above, it is hard to put forth the argument for the diabolical decade which saw a glut of films that did wonders at the box-office for no rhyme nor reason. Well, perhaps in rhyme - as the songs were fun and frothy. As the quintessential pair that represented the '80s, the young ingenue Sridevi then, co-starred with Jeetendra (20 years her senior) and made fun, fluffy films. As many of us grew up in the '80s, there was an impish glee to the movies that were entertaining (as box office receipts show) and didn't tax the mind. Not all cinema needs to be an enlightening cavalcade of images to reflect the human spirit and inform the soul. Sometimes you just want to go to a theatre and have fun, forget the worries of the day, death, disease and taxes and watch pretty people prance about on screen and mouth inane, risible (Kader Khan! Johnny Lever!!) dialogues to beat the heat.

Sridevi, for her part, brought such joie de vivre to her roles, not to mention laughter, fashion, dance - and yes, even a gamut of emotions. There was indeed fine acting involved considering the parameters of the cinema she was starring in. As any true Sri aficionado knows, she was doing her thespian bit  in Tamil films at the same time - all her directors knew she could act - but roles to showcase that ocean of talent was limited in Bollywood. Still, she survived it all and shone through (unlike many of her contemporaries) and remains, by far, the most admired actress of her time. No mean feat.

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