A Revered Adieu

“Tread not in the by-lanes of the belittle ones, you will only be ripped off of your untainted glory and the very reason for your sublime existence”. @msksmiles

“Vultures can hunt, eagles can prey, tigers will prowl. Only a saint will consume all the adultery and exude sanity for the baffled minds”. – @msksmiles

I saw him in Kanchipuram-1993, all smiles with a spark in his eyes. Much later, in Calcutta-2014, we visited Ved Bhavan to seek his noble blessings.

Let the world remember you for all the goodness and humanity you have engulfed each of us in.

Chandni. Forever.

Sridevi’s demise marks an an end to a celebrated era of woman talent and perseverance.

One of those mercurial and prodigious actors who was able to transcend boundaries successfully and with so much grace, Sridevi used her strong foundation from Tamil films to foray in to Hindi cinema and was able to hone her way through with panache.

The transition was hard work, transformation was stunning. From the next-door-girl image down South, Sridevi became the undisputed queen of Bollywood.

And, fearlessly, she never looked back.

My ‘Sridevi’ moments are many, but I will review few performances that totally, completely defined the legend of ‘Sridevi’ and which will tell us in abundance, the reason for bestowing the tag of ‘First Woman Superstar’ over this leading lady.

Sridevi Ma’am, you were born for Cinema. You will be missed.

Varumayin Niram Sigappu

A KB film, she was cast along with a young and talented Kamal Haasan. Despite big names along side her, she holds her own in a sublime and hard hitting script. Early glimpses of an emerging star.

16 Vayadhinile

Another memorable classic from Bharathiraja, a very young Sridevi is pitted against Kamal Haasan and Rajnikanth (a rank newcomer then). Set in the rural backdrop with simplicity being the biggest whistle blower, Sridevi has her own space as a shy, resplendent and brave girl who manages to survive in a male dominated society.

Moonram Pirai/Sadma

Sridevi’s powerhouse performance as a girl suffering from retrograde amnesia who fights off a battle that remains one of it’s kind in Indian Cinema. She matched Kamal Haasan in every frame, and remains one of her finest in this Balu Mahendra classic.

Chaalbaaz

1 wasn’t enthralling enough, we had 2. Sridevi’s knock out performance in this entertainer was a testimony to her comic skills. In the presence of heavyweights like Sunny Deol and Rajnikanth, she held her own in a roller coaster role that elevated her to a commercial status.

Mr. India

We remember this classic for ‘Mogambo’ but Sridevi was the other icon of this film despite Anil Kapoor being the lead. Her stupendous energy and those sensual moves in ‘Rate Nahin Katthe’ are some brilliant Sridevi moments in this classic. A superstar is here to stay.

Chandni

Who can forget Sridevi in the white silk chiffon, laden by snow mountains in the Alps?

‘King of Romance’ meets ‘Queen of Hearts’. Sridevi became the quintessential goddess of Yash Chopra and ‘Chandni’ established her as the numero uno in the industry.

Lamhe

A film much ahead of its time, this Yash Chopra classic was another feather in Sridevi’s hat. A dual role, Sridevi was top notch as mother and daughter. Again, in the presence of a formidable Anil Kapoor, Lamhe was a Sridevi film.

The Curious Case of Netaji

The last couple of weeks saw Google bestowing tributes on a Russian filmmaker and a Mexican Diva.

Today, I saw a Nigerian football icon grabbing this honor.

Google Doodle, thank you!

But I was surprised and disappointed to see that we conveniently forgot to acknowledge that today also happens to be the birthday of a National Hero and a true revolutionary of his times – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

But, you know what, I understand the reason behind such a gross omission.

Google Doodle, it isn’t your fault. It is, entirely ours.

Netaji remains one of those icons who is largely forgotten and ignored by a country which has been a land of folklore and gruesome battles. I think the very reason to believe that he could single handedly bring Independence to a ravaged sub-continent from the ruthless colonial rule was in itself, so scary and hard to believe that we ended up on a tentacle based opinion and denied him the very chance to become that elusive legend that he never graced upon during his lifetime.

With all due respect to the Mahatma and Congress, Netaji was one of the first to voice out and propagate the concept of ‘Complete Independence’. His ideologies and vision to achieve this through the unthinkable (Getting Russia’s attention, speaking to Hitler and the idea to use Japan for INA to make inroads in to the country) is unsurpassable. For all his daring exploits and an inspiration that he was to the young guns, he was shamelessly accused of fascism and betrayal.

Political propaganda, vested interest or personal disdain, Netaji never got his due. In fact, he continues to be a regional colossus with statements of uncertain resonance.

Netaji, Happy Birthday!

I am sorry, it’s not that we have forgotten you, it’s just that we are yet to learn the art of absorbing marauding greatness.

Inevitable 2018, Hello!

2017 was a roller coaster year. Well, I can call it adventurous and tumultuous in the same breath. Yes, you might argue that these expressions don’t quite sit adjacent to each other. But at times, our derivatives stand flawed and undisputed.

Strange are the ways of life, so was 2017.

Indulgent, attractive, celebrated.

Sometimes, we feel excited about things that didn’t work. Perhaps, time is the major player here. We smile when it smiles. But in life, at some point, we all smile. Not really when we want, we don’t get to decide everything in our life, every time. As much as I am a great believer in myself and am self obsessed, I cannot ignore the subtle variations of destiny in my interesting life. I guess, there lies the beauty. And all the joy, apprehensions and agony that supplements the turmoil of the journey, so famously called ‘Life’.

But, all said and dusted, 2018 could be the year of my life. Instincts, gut feeling, not sure what it is. But the feeling remains undisputed. And, I am looking forward to it with exuberance and hope. Hope is good, fear is not. But apprehension, yes. I guess, that’s why 2018 is going to be a massive year of glorious uncertainties.

Keep aside my life for sometime now, 2017 was yet another year with lots of everything – emotions, achievements, disappointments, celebrations.

For each of you, let’s achieve what we always wanted to.

Let’s do what we enjoy the most in our decorated lives. Let’s create the space we always wanted in our lives. If you don’t like something, say it. If you want a change, now is the time to take first baby steps. Respect people but don’t take shit from anyone, especially if you don’t deserve it. Value relationships but make sure the relationship is two fold and devoid of oscillating benefits.

Phew! I know. Words of wisdom for few, Gyan for many and just rustic, frivolous words for those who don’t find a meaning in web of words and spoken partitions.

Let’s take a look at some pulsating pictures that defined my 2017, in more ways than it so appears.

2018, come and you will realize that you are already falling in love with me.

70 Years of ‘Bharat’

We have come a long way, we have a long way to go. Every country goes through turbulence, so have we. Every country has its moments, we have had our own. Every country has a vision, we have ours. No country is perfect, the flaws exude beauty of renaissance and evolution. We did, we do, we will. 

Jai Hind!

Death Smile

She is an Iron Lady. I have never seen her blink an eye or being moist in a situation. She took tuition classes, her husband has a decent job and her son was studying in a boarding school in a different town. A family of 3 with dreams of their own, I knew them as a courageous and friendly family.

But destiny had other plans. A plan that shattered their lives and bought them to knees. But I just had one question. Why?

One midnight, the phone rings aloud. The call is from her son’s Boarding school. They inform that her son collapsed in his room last night and they did not have a clue till one of his room mates tried to get in to the room. With a heavy and scary tone, they inform her that he is dead. 

Her world has just gone down. The couple rush to the boarding school and get his body back home. Doctors inform that he died due to a respiratory problem leading to cardiac arrest. 

I met her a few weeks after her son’s death. She was her usual self, didn’t talk much and I did not have the tenacity to stay longer. But I could see the pain she locked herself in.

Not willing to remain inside and refuses to come outside. I could see how her world has collapsed with a blink of an eye.

But disasters have this uncanny knack of knocking doors twice. Again, I was living with the same question. Why?

I visited her a few months later and during the normal conversation, ended up enquiring about her husband. Her response startled me. He has been diagnosed with cancer and is under treatment for the last 3 months. Her voice, not for a minute, had a touch of fear or apprehension about the situation she is dangling with. 

I was out of town for 4 months. When I was back, I learnt from her that he passed away last month.

Her life stood toppled and devastated. Yet, she stood firm and I did not see tears in her eyes. She continued with her tuition classes. She started visiting a nearby orphanage and offered her services. Few months down the line, she quit classes and became a regular in the orphanage.

I have since moved out of the city since 7 years. Last time I visited her place, door was locked and neighbours have not seen her around for sometime. As of today, I don’t know where she lives or has moved to.

I, at times, remain astounded by the ways of life. We are not perfect. We make mistakes. We have sinned. Yet, life bestows numerous opportunities to redeem ourselves. And, we survive. We live to see glory.

But in the adversity of time, life decided to show off it’s gruesome face to this lady and her family. 

I am still living with the same question. Why?

*Inspired by real life events.

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