The top film actress talks to Lens Eye.
She's just having fun, tossing a a shawl primly over her peekaboo outfit, she flutters luxuriant lashes framing sea-foam eyes. As guys look at her, right from her tiara down to her frosted-pink toenails, she stares back suggesting a woman who knows her strength. One wrong move and she'll have you dumped in a dungeon.
That's Sridevi. Or Pappi, the pet name given by her family. The actress knows she's the hottest property in the movie trade and proud of it. Yet, there's none of that putting-off patina about her. For she also knows that she must never stop oozing the innocence of a girl lost in a mean marketplace. To be dumb is to be a darling. She must invite your concern and care. And that she does as simply as wearing lipstick.
Absorbed in show-business ever since she was four - her first role was of a baby goddess all decked up in ruby rings and a cardboard crown - the young woman has no feelings she can really call her own. That's evident as she lights up fluorescently for a shot. But as soon as it's over, she's blank. Any recognisable emotion is put on 'hold'.
Sridevi knows the mechanics of acting like an ace driver knows his automobile. I meet her on the sets of Mr India being directed by Shekhar Kapur for producer Boney Kapoor. The director's full of beans, the producer's smiling like a sage. They're aware that without their star, the super-costly studio floor crammed with suede furniture, a million tiny bulbs, carved pillars and pots of tropical plans, would have looked barren.
The actress is playing a crime reporter and is currently in the throes of a cabaret in a mafia den. In between shots, she talks confidently without ever summoning the aid of her ever-present sister as she once used to.
Have you ever heard of a crime reporter performing a cabaret to get a scoop?
Don't ask me all that. This is a not a realistic Satyajit Ray-type of picture, is it? If journalists don't sing and dance to get scoops, they should! It's fun, try it! I love freaking out, I know journalists can't break into numbers like "Hawa hawaii" as I'm doing here. But, this is... how do you say it?... fantasy picture. I've met many girls from the press. But if I behaved exactly like them the movie would be very boring. They're too serious, always writing on their pads or switching on tape-recorders. The reporter I'm playing is quite nutty, she's short-tempered, she even hates kids.
You know, if you asked me, "Sridevi do you like kids?" I'd jump up and say, "I do, I do!". In fact, if i get married it'll be to have children of my own though I don't know how many. I never think about such things....
Excerpt from Flashback, 175 Years of Entertainment
by The Times of India
The Times of India
May 2, 1986