The poster of the film Mom, starring Sridevi. The film opened in a phenomenal five screens in all the major cities of Pakistan. Image Credit: Supplied

How Sridevi brought Pakistani, Indian fans closer

As soon as the news of tragic death of Sridevi reached Pakistan it spread like wildfire, shocking the fans and celebrities of Pakistan.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feed was overwhelmed with messages of condolences and tribute paid to Bollywood diva who died of cardiac arrest in Dubai. She was 54.

The tremendous reaction from Pakistan even shocked some Indian who thanked Pakistani fans. “Look at the sheer number, and heartfelt nature, of condolences pouring in from Pakistan on Sridevi's demise” highlighted an Indian socio-political activist, Sudheendra Kulkarni, adding that “Great artistes unite humanity.”

A Pakistan media anchor, Anila Shigri responded, “Love has no boundaries. We are in absolute shock and disbelief. Gone too soon.”

Another Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi shared an emotional video recalling how “Sridevi broke down as she addressed her Pakistan co-stars of [movie] Mom - Adnan and Sajal - who could not be there [in India] due to the ban on Pakistani artists.

Expressing heartfelt condolences to the family members of the actress, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Information Maryam Aurangzeb said that Sridevi was a versatile actress who proved her mettle in showbiz through stellar performances in films.

Several Pakistani TV channels dedicated the broadcast to beloved Bollywood actress Sridevi, claiming that “Sridevi was the heart beats of millions of Pakistani fans.”

Pakistani celebrities including Mahira Khan, Sajal Aly, Imran Abbas, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Ahmed Ali Butt, Armeena Khan and many others mourned the sudden demise of one of India’s most celebrated actresses.

Mahira Khan thanked the actor for all the magic she had created throughout the years. “So grateful to have grown up and lived in the times of Sridevi. Thank you for the movies, thank you for the magic. You shall live on forever” Mahira tweeted.

Sajal Aly, who played Sridevi’s daughter in her Bollywood debut, Mom, shared her picture with the actress on Instagram with the caption, “Lost my mom again…” Aly, also lost her own mother to cancer last year.

Imran Abbas called her an ultimate superstar and tweeted: “Her smile, beauty, acting, aura and those "NIGAAHAIN" (eyes) will be missed forever.”

Actress Saba Qamar shared a picture with the superstar from Masala! Awards last year, saying she will be missed forever.

Sridevi is best known for her legendary performance in movies such as Mr India, Nagina, Sadma, Chaalbaaz, Chandni among many others. She stunned the fans with touching performance in her last movie ‘Mom’ released in 2017.

Sridevi, who was a regular fixture in Dubai, is being described as an “extraordinarily simple person” by her friends and associates in the UAE.

The actress, 54, suffered a cardiac arrest and died last night in Dubai.

According to sources, her body will be sent to Mumbai between 12pm and 2pm today.

Sridevi’s body to be flown from Dubai soon

Nissar Syed, the managing director of Asiavision TV and Movie Awards, who had bestowed her with the Icon of India Award in Dubai in 2015, said the iconic actress exuded a simplicity that was hard to match.

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Image Credit: Supplied

“She was the most co-operative celebrity that I have ever come across in my career. For a person who has acted in films as a leading star for more than five decades, there was no arrogance around her. She was so humble. We can’t believe that she’s no more. It’s shocking,” said Syed in an interview with Gulf News tabloid!.

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Image Credit: Supplied

Sridevi spent her last few days in the UAE in a celebratory mood as she attended the star-studded wedding of her nephew Mohit Marwah in Ras Al Khaimah.

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Image Credit: Supplied

According to sources, Sridevi and her family checked out of the hotel in RAK and later checked into a hotel on Shaikh Zayed Road in Dubai to spend a few days.

Rekha Tourani, the restauranteur of Dusty’s, has spent several holidays in Dubai with Sridevi and her daughters.

“She was very close to me. I don’t know what to tell you. She was so soft, opposite of the powerful persona she portrayed on the big screen. She was very kind and if she loved you, she loved you with all her heart. I was fortunate that I received that love (from her)… I am still in state of shock. She was so fit and we bonded over motherhood and how important our children were to us,” Tourani told Gulf News tabloid!.

Sridevi: An icon remembered

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Image Credit: Supplied

ridevi was an inscrutable icon.

So naturally, the prospect of interviewing her over the phone to speak about her thriller Mom in mid-June was a daunting prospect. She was a woman of few words.

Don’t get me wrong here, it wasn’t because her life was uneventful or that her career spanning over five decades wasn’t smattered with milestones.

Far from it.

300 films

At the time of this interview conducted last year, the beloved Indian actress was about to turn 300-films-old and her trophy cabinet was heaving with awards.

I remember thinking that interviewing Sridevi was tougher than having a root canal treatment. But that was her charm.

She was famously media-shy, a sharp contrast to her commanding on-screen presence.

And unlike the slick media-trained millennial actors who can walk the talk, the 54-year-old Sridevi wasn’t someone to blow her own trumpet.

She wore her fame like a cape on her shoulders — with an effortless ease — and had this aura of simplicity about her.

The extraordinary actress, who has been in films since the age of four, spoke hesitantly and haltingly.

“I am not in a hurry to do films. I just don’t want to do films for the sake of it. I am busy with my kids and I have lots to do in my life.

"So, if at all I am doing a film, it has to be worth leaving my kids, my husband and my home. I should be convinced that it’s worth my time,” said Sridevi during that interview.

Mom, a tale about a mother who avenges the brutal gang rape of her step daughter by murdering the predators, turned out to be the project that she thought was worth extricating herself from her teenage daughters — Janhvi and Khushi — who looked they were being sculpted for a career in films.

Just like extraordinary talents such as Aamir Khan or Mohanlal, Sridevi too didn’t seem to dwell on her superlative acting skills or analyse her own greatness.

Prod her to talk herself up and she would laugh nervously.

“I play roles now that suit my age,” said Sridevi. In just eight words, she managed to distil her legendary career spanning over five decades and dozens of blockbusters.