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Karisma Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Sridevi and Alia Bhatt on the set of ‘Zero’. Image Credit: Supplied

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s deeply-divisive film ‘Zero’ may have evoked polarising opinions among viewers and critics, but the verdict was unanimously positive on one front: the late Sridevi’s poignant posthumous cameo in which she was playing herself at a star-studded party.

It was the 54-year-old icon’s last big screen appearance, after her death in February 2018 in Dubai due to accidental drowning in a bath tub.

On a regular day, such a scene where Sridevi is quietly encouraging Khan’s character Bauua Singh — a commoner dwarf trying to impress a bevy of well-heeled guests from the entertainment world with his magic tricks — to have faith in himself and his talents would have gone unnoticed. However, the realisation that it’s Sridevi’s ultimate cameo magnified its relevance among the views.

She looked so good. While watching her on the big screen, we couldn’t believe that she’s no more.

- Ruchi Grover | Social media user

If you listened carefully, a collective sigh could be heard from the viewers. In less than two months, Sridevi’s family and fans will be observing her first death anniversary — a fact that has not escaped viewers, filling them with an irrevocable sense of loss.

Dubai-based viewer Ruchi Grover felt that the icon looked impossibly youthful in her cameo in director Aanand L Rai’s ‘Zero’.

“She looked so good. While watching her on the big screen, we couldn’t believe that she’s no more. She looked so full of life and so young. Her screen presence is magnetic. She was a true icon,” said Grover.

Social media has also been abuzz with posts on Sridevi’s cameo.

“After watching #Sridevi ma’am in #Zero I am missing her even more... She looked so radiant and vibrant. What a stunning star she was. Truly Showstopper. Miss you, your smile,” tweeted Priya Lalwani.

Another Twitter user Naomi Dutta posted: “Also I got teary eyed — cos there was a brief cameo by Sridevi. The whole hall let out a collective sigh. #Zero.”

Bollywood movie fan Neha Kashyapa felt that ‘Zero’s’ appeal was amplified due to Sridevi’s cameo.

“Watched #Zero for just last glimpse of My Lady Superstar @SrideviBKapoor I know she is no more but she always live in my heart forever. Movie was good, but it become special cos of #Sridevi ma’am. Love you.”

It wasn’t just the viewers who felt that their lives were touched by Sridevi’s acting skills.

Indian National Award-winning actress Karisma Kapoor, who was also a part of the cameo in ‘Zero’, took to her social media to express her gratitude.

“Thank you Shah Rukh and team ‘Zero’ for giving me the opportunity to share screen space (even if it was for a few minutes) with the legend and my all time favourite Sridevi, we miss you. Special moments,” she wrote.

In a separate interview with an Indian news channel, Khan spoke at length about Sridevi’s cameo and claimed that had she been alive, he would have invited her first for ‘Zero’s’ trial screening. He began her career in a big way with Sridevi-starrer ‘Army’, he added.

“That sequence is actually not a long sequence. It’s not in any which way... it’s not an ‘item’ presence, honestly. And it’s wrong to even kind of feel, ‘Oh, it’s a privilege to have had her in the film’, because, you know, just the loss is so great. And I hope wherever she is, she makes the world happy like she’s done. I kind of started my career when I came and did ‘Army’ [1996] with her and then she’s no more and I have a little scene with her, so it’s heartening that way.”

Out now!

‘Zero’ is currently out in the UAE.