Sunday, 25 February 2018

Rishi Kapoor Remembers Sridevi




Rishi Kapoor: I don’t see another female actor achieving what Sridevi did in any sphere of life



It was the rudest shock to wake up to at 4 am. I got a call asking about my memories of working with her. When I started my second innings as an actor, I was confident that we will work together again. It’s a dream that will remain unfulfilled for as long as I live. I still can’t believe she’s no more. Sridevi was fit and looking gorgeous as ever. She didn’t have an ailment, she was careful with her diet, she was a gym regular and she’s succumbed to cardiac arrest. She’s gone at a time when everything was going good for her. I don’t understand what really triggered this.

Sridevi and Rishi Kapoor in Nagina
Even today, memories of working with her in 'Nagina' and 'Chandni' are fresh in my memory. I remember Jaya Prada was the original choice to play the leading lady for 'Nagina'. For reasons that are beyond me, she lost the part to Sridevi. At that point, I wasn’t aware but Sridevi was keen to work with me because she hadn’t worked with me till then. The film became a turning point in her Bollywood career. While she was scaling the heights of stardom, this film catapulted her to superstardom almost overnight. On the set, she didn’t converse much. Initially, I thought maybe she’s snooty or simply arrogant to not speak to her co-stars.

Later, I found out that she was actually shy and maybe, a tad conscious about speaking in Hindi or English, because she was not proficient in either of the languages back then. In fact, she told me about it much later. Those days, while shooting a film, we had something called as a magazine change. It was a technical thing and we had to stay at our positions while the lights faced us. In those two to three awkward minutes, we stood there not knowing what to speak. I broke the ice and complimented her dance skills. To that she said, ‘I’ve seen 'Khel Khel Mein' four times.’ That was the first conversation we had. By the time we worked together in 'Chandni', she had scaled great heights of superstardom. Amitabh Bachchan and she are the only actors who have really seen those dizzying heights of fame for a long, long time in their careers.

When we started working in Chandni, she had become more conversant and confident with her Hindi and English. We did a lot of improvisation on the set, on almost every scene. Like the cognac scene was not written the way it was in the film. On another occasion, we were shooting the title track in which I give her my ice-cream and when I asked her for the cone, she showed me a thenga (thumb gesture). That was impromptu. Can you believe that? We could sense what the other was thinking about, while filming our scenes together. That was the fun of working with another artiste who made everything look and feel real. She brought to the table what no one else did. The way she and I conversed in 'Chandni' was so fresh; it was different for lovers to behave like that with each other.

There was a dance sequence featuring her in the film, which is about three minutes long. It was shot in Switzerland, and she had a morning call time. By lunch time, everyone was back to the hotel. I was dumb-founded to know that she took less than half a day to film an entire dance sequence, one that was difficult. Saroj Khan, who was choreographing it, told me, ‘It was a cake-walk for this girl. She did it all with such ease.’ That was the genius that Sridevi was. We won’t get to see such artistry ever again.

The last time I worked with her was 25 years ago. At that time, she decided to leave everything to set up a house and start a family. I immensely respect her for that because a female actor has a body clock and she must adhere to it. She raised her daughters Janhvi and Khushi beautifully. 
When they were old enough, she returned to the movies with 'English Vinglish' and 'Mom', and she was as good as ever. Today, I feel terrible for her lovely daughters. I will miss my Chandni for all the lovely cinematic moments she gave me. Her fans will miss her, for no one will entertain the way she did. I don’t see another female actor achieving what Sridevi did in any sphere of life. 'Mere Haathon Mein Nau Nau Choodiyan' became a national anthem for all desi weddings and 'Main Teri Dushman' headlines the naagin dances everywhere even now. These are all her footprints on our cinema which will remain…

From Bombay Times 

Rishi Kapoor and Sridevi worked together in just five films, from which Chandni and Nagina were blockbusters! The list:

Kaun Sachcha Kaun Jhootha (1997)
Gurudev (1993)
Banjaran (1991)
Chandni (1989)
Nagina (1986)  

See earlier post: Sridevi arrives for Rishi Kapoor's daughter Riddhima's wedding here. (January 2006).

 

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