I have a habit of constantly dreaming and waking up every once in a while in the night to check out my cell phone and I suddenly saw a message that Sridevi is no more ..I thought that either it’s a nightmare or a hoax and I went back to sleep ..An hour later I woke up to check and there were around 50 messages informing me of the same.
Back in the times when I was in engineering college in Vijayawada, I happened to see her first Telugu film Padaharella Vayasu… I was awestruck with her Beauty and I walked out of the theatre in a daze thinking that she cannot be a real person and she has to be some fantasy form who somehow has taken a human shape. Then I saw her various other films, all of which constantly created a higher bench mark of both her talent and her beauty. To me she looked like some being who has come from some other world in the outer space as a favour to bless us for a little while for all the good we might have done in this world.
She was like a creation of God which he does whenever he is in a very special mood as a very very special gift to mankind.
My journey to Sridevi started when I was preparing for my debut film Shiva. I used to walk from Nagarjuna’s office in Chennai to a neighbouring street where Sridevi used to live and I used to just stand and watch Sridevi’s house from outside her gate.
I just couldn’t believe that the goddess of beauty lives in that stupid looking house. I say stupid because I believed that no manmade house deserved to house that beauty called SRIDEVI.
I used to so desperately hope to catch a glimpse of her as she went in or out of her house. But sadly no such thing ever happened.
And then after ‘Shiva’ released and became a big hit, a producer came to me and asked if I was interested in doing a film with Sridevi. I said “Are you mad or what? I will die to just see her, let alone make a film with her!”
He arranged a meeting with her and took me to meet her at that very same house where I used to stand outside the gate and stare. At night we went and as luck would have it there was a power cut in her house. So I was sitting in her living room in candle light along with the producer waiting for the angel to appear and my heart was thumping like mad.
Her mother told us she was busy packing as she was about to catch a flight to go to Mumbai.
As we were waiting, every once in a while Sridevi was rapidly crossing the living room as she was moving from one room to another room in a rush to finish her packing even as she apologetically smiled at me for the delay. Every time she was appearing and disappearing in a flash and the director in me started slow motioning her and running her backward and forward for my visual pleasure.
Finally she came and sat in the living room, just said a mandatory few lines that she would very much like to work with me and then she left for Mumbai. I continued talking to her mother with enormous respect and awe because she actually gave birth to Sridevi.
I went back to my place feeling like I was in the seventh heaven. The way Sridevi sat in front of me in the candle light got imprinted in my mind like an exquisite painting and with her image completely filling both my mind and my heart I started writing Kshana Kshanam.
I wrote Kshana Kshanam with the one and only purpose so as to impress Sridevi. Kshana Kshanam was intended by me as a love letter to her.
Throughout the making of Kshana Kshanam,I just couldn’t take my eyes off her charm, her beauty, her personality and her demeanour was a new discovery for me.
She had an invisible wall around her and she does not let anyone cross that. Behind that wall she maintains her dignity and her self-respect and she never lets anyone inside.
Also during the course of working with her and observing her technique of acting I began to understand more and more as a director about the nuances of performances and characterizations because for me she formed the epitome of cinematic acting.
Her popularity and stardom had to be seen to be believed. We were shooting for the climax in Nandyal for Kshana Kshanam and the whole town of Nandyal came to a standstill when they came to know that Sridevi was in town. Banks, Govt offices, Schools, Colleges everything in town closed as everyone wanted to see Sridevi.
She stayed in a traveller’s bungalow in Nandyal and at a little distance i was staying in another bungalow. There used to be a crowd of at least 20,000 people around her bungalow throughout the night just staring at it. There were about 50 tough guys along with a 100 strong police force who used to continuously guard her.
When we were at location we used to know that Sridevi started from her bungalow to come to location because we used to see a column of dust travelling towards us from the distance. The dust was due to the thousands of people running behind her car. I have never seen more of a super star and now she just got extinguished.
Sridevi is the most beautiful and the most sensuous woman, God ever created and I think he creates such exquisite pieces of art like her only once in a thousand years.
Though she is no longer there, we her directors fortunately have her captured as a goddess of beauty in our cameras and our cinematic angel has now just become a divine angel
I thank God for creating Sridevi and I thank Louis Lumiere for creating the movie camera for giving us an opportunity to contain her forever.
I still can’t believe that she is no more and I am lying in bed writing about my memories of her
I so hope I am still having a bad dream, but I know I am not.
I hate Sridevi.
I hate her for making me realise that she too is finally only just a human being.
I hate that her heart too has to beat to live.
I hate that, she too has a heart which can just stop like anybody else’s.
I hate that I lived to see the messages informing me of her death.
I hate God for killing her
And I hate Sridevi for dying.
I love you Sri wherever you are… and I will always love you.
Ram Gopal Varma