Sunday, 9 June 2013

India Today Woman Summit 2013 award winner: Sridevi

The day-long India Today Woman Summit & Awards 2013 held at The Hyatt Regency in New Delhi on Friday, April 19, 2013, threw light on women's status and what was needed to improve their standing in society.

Prominent women speakers from all walks of life spoke on various topics related to women's issues. Towards the end of the summit, awards were given out to those women who had broken the glass ceiling and had reached the top of the pyramid with their hard work while helping bring about a change in society. The awards were given away for various categories.

India Today Woman in Arts: Sridevi, Actor.

From India Today


The Original Superstar
Sridevi Kapoor, Actor
Sridevi is a name synonymous with Indian cinema of the 1980s. The actor ruled Bollywood for over three decades and can truly be called India's first female superstar. She commanded star billing, money and respect on par with the leading male actors of her day.

Sridevi, 49, started acting at the age of four and went on to work in over 270 films in five languages. After establishing herself as a star in South Indian cinema, she moved north to conquer the Hindi film industry.

The acting powerhouse starred in a slew of iconic films such as Sadma (1983), Nagina (1986), Mr India (1987), Chandni, Chaal Baaz (1989), Lamhe (1991) and Khuda Gawah (1992) to name a few. She was the queen of double roles, made the chiffon sari a rage with Chandni, has some memorable dance numbers to her credit (think Hawa Hawai and the Charlie Chaplin sequence from Mr India for instance), had a great sense of comic timing and had (and probably still does) a devoted fan base similar to that of any of the Khans today.


An entire generation of female actors from Kajol to Kareena Kapoor have gone on record to say they look up to her for inspiration. After a 15-year break from films, during which she focused entirely on her family, she made a successful comeback last year with Gauri Shinde's English Vinglish. Her portrayal of a mother struggling to learn the English language in order to rediscover her confidence struck a chord with critics and audiences alike. "When I met Gauri [Shinde] we clicked instantly. The script really appealed to me. I could relate to the character of Shashi," says Sridevi.

She says she used her time away from the arclights to spend time with her family and travel widely at leisure, something she could never do as a busy actor. She also found time for herself. Her hour-glass figure and glowing skin are testimony to the disciplined lifestyle she leads. "I follow a fixed routine. I do power yoga, eat right and play tennis with my daughters regularly. And I completely avoid fried and junk food," she says.

The veteran actor says scriptoriented films are finding favour with audiences today and right now is an exciting time to be in Bollywood. She is game for more projects provided the script and character appeal to her.

"Bollywood is now an exciting place to be. Today the script is the real hero," she says.

More at India Today Woman Awards

SRIDEVI



Sridevi
In perhaps the most awaited session of the day, Bollywood diva Sridevi took to the stage and charmed the audience with anecdotes from her personal life in Conversation with a Superstar: What I've Learnt.

She described what it took to become and remain a powerful screen goddess and why she gave it all up for motherhood one day. Returning to the big screen after a 15-year hiatus with the much acclaimed English Vinglish, Sridevi said she never felt out of touch with her creative side while she was away and had been happy leading an ordinary life like "any other good mother." "I used to go to the fish market and enjoyed leading an ordinary life for a change," she said.

The former superstar shared insights about how dramatically the business of filmmaking had changed over the years. "The industry has undergone a sea change from earlier days. While dialogues had to be dubbed back then, sync sound is the norm now. Where actresses once had to make do with changing costumes under the biggest tree nearby, Bollywood divas now have vanity vans on permanent standby," she said.

Recalling anecdotes from a time when she was the reigning box office queen, Sridevi said, "Dancing in funny costumes on streets abroad used to be very embarrassing," she added. And said she missed working with directors such as Shekhar Kapur who "could get the best out of nothing. I miss working with him."

The actor, who started acting in films at the age of four, said "All my life, I knew only studios, directors, cameras and acting." Narrating a story from the early days of her career, Sridevi said she had once reached a film set and asked for her dialogues, only to be told that the director was still writing them.

She brushed aside all rumours when asked about her purported rivalry with the other Bollywood Queen Bee Madhuri Dixit, explaining that they had both been busy with their respective careers back then but Madhuri was always warm and humble whenever they met. She added that she had enjoyed dancing with Madhuri on a recent TV show.

When asked how she managed to look so good at the age of 49, the actor described herself as a very disciplined person who believed in the dictum "No pain, no gain." "I play tennis with my daughters and husband to stay fit," she added.

Clearly impressed with the sudden infusion of professionalism and technology in Bollywood, Sridevi said that from among the current crop of female actors she admired Vidya Balan's work in Kahaani, Kareena Kapoor in Talaash and Priyanka Chopra in Barfi! but admitted that it would take a long time for Bollywood to create roles for older women. The actor confessed she was a great fan of Meryl Streep and wished she had been given an opportunity to essay some of the roles she had done.

The session soon turned into a double act when Sridevi's husband, Bollywood producer Boney Kapoor who was seated in the audience spoke about how he had wooed Sridevi. He admitted he had first managed to impress the actors mother.

"I made an offer of Rs.11 lakh when she asked for Rs.10 lakh as fee for her daughter to act in a film," he said, much to the audience's amusement. Years of relentless pursuit, including a trip to Switzerland where she was shooting, finally convinced Sridevi that Boney was indeed serious about her. And then cupid took over and the rest is history.

More at India Today: Sridevi




Acting has to come from the heart, not the mind, says Sridevi 
 
In a heart-to-heart talk at the India Today Woman Summit & Awards 2013, Bollywood diva Sridevi described what it meant to be a screen goddess and a doting mother at the same time. Back after a 15-year acting hiatus with the much acclaimed English Vinglish last year, she said she never felt out of touch with her creative side.

Sharing insights on how dramatically the business of filmmaking had changed over this period, she charmed the audience with anecdotes from her personal experiences and welcomed the infusion of professionalism and technology in Bollywood.
Best Ideas
  • Sharing the secret of her enduring beauty, she described herself as a very systematic person who believed in the dictum "no pain, no gain". Playing tennis with her daughters and a loving husband kept her fit, she said.
  • The industry has undergone a sea change from the days when she ruled the roost. While dialogues had to be dubbed back then, sync sound is the norm now. Where the actress had to make do with changing costumes under the biggest tree nearby, Bollywood divas now have vanity vans on permanent standb
  • Saying she led an ordinary life and was like "any other good mother", she described motherhood as the most beautiful experience.
  • She admired Vidya Balan in Kahaani, Kareena Kapoor in Talaash and Priyanka Chopra in Barfi! but admitted that she was a great fan of Meryl Streep and wished she he had got some of the roles essayed by the Hollywood legend.
  • On her purported rivalry and cold equation with Madhuri Dixit, she said they had both been busy with their respective careers back then but Madhuri was always warm and humble whenever they would meet. She enjoyed dancing with Madhuri on a recent TV show and would love to do a film with her, she said.
  • She felt concerned about the lack of security for women even in big cities and said her heart goes out to the families of victims of sexual violence.
Key Quotes
"Dancing in funny costumes on streets abroad used to be very embarrassing."
"There can be no greater award than the audience's love."
"All my life, I knew only studios, directors, cameras, acting."
"I am a feminist and every woman should feel like one."
"I used to go to the fish market and always enjoyed doing the day-to-day ordinary things."
"Shekhar Kapur could get the best out of nothing. I miss working with him."
Fun Facts
  • I once reached the set and asked for my dialogues. The director was still writing them.
  • To woo Sridevi, I started by wooing her mother: Boney Kapoor 


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