Sridevi — the full story

The song-n-dance about her

Given the tradition and importance of music and dance in Indian films, it’s inevitable that song picturisation can lead to the success of a film. In Sridevi’s case, virtually every song picturised on her came to life irrespective of tacky lyrics, beautiful melody and garish costumes, owing to her star power. We take a look at 25 memorable numbers that she completely aced. While her Hindi songs varied between the glam to the tacky, it’s fair to say that musically, Sridevi’s Tamil portfolio is a superior one. This is mainly owing to the fact that a big chunk of Sridevi’s Tamil career coincided with the rise of Ilaiyaraja.


Surmai Ankhiyon Mein’, ‘Ae Zindagi Gale Lagaa Le’ (Sadma, 1983) — Ilayaraja’s soundtrack (that mostly reused tunes from the Tamil original), penned by Gulzar, was highlighted by these two gems, both made even more memorable by Sridevi’s presence on screen with Kamal Haasan.

Naino Mein Sapna’ (Himmatwala, 1983) — One of the lasting aspects of the movie was this colourfully shot song from Bappi Lahiri-Indeevar and sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar.

Main Teri Dushman’ (Nagina, 1986) — The movie is now famous amongst milennials for the Amrish Puri “Aao Kabhi Haveli Pe” meme, but it was Sridevi’s snake dance in this song that it has always been identified with.

Hawa Hawai’, ‘Parody Song’, ‘Kaate Nahi Kat Te’ (Mr. India, 1987) — While ‘Hawa Hawai’ and the parody song medley had Sridevi at her quirkiest, she scorched the screen with ‘Kaate’.

Mere Haathon Mein’ (Chandni, 1989) — The Yash Chopra film featured some memorable melodies like his movies always have, in this case from the director’s then favourite composer duo Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia (Shiv-Hari).

Na Jaane Kahaan Se’ (Chaalbaaz, 1989) — Another of the actress’s blockbuster, it featured the superhit Laxmikant Pyarelal-Anand Bakshi song that captured her at her most vivacious.

Kabhi Main Kahoon’ (Lamhe, 1991) — This was Sridevi’s second film with Yash Chopra and featured a fine soundtrack from Shiv-Hari, best of which was this Hariharan-Lata duet.

Tu Na Ja Mere Badshah’ (Khuda Gawah, 1992) — The grand venture from Mukul Anand featured some opulently orchestrated songs from Laxmikant Pyarelal and Anand Bakshi.

Dhak Dhuk’ (English Vinglish, 2012) — Amit Trivedi-Swanand Kirkire’s soundtrack had some nice tracks, especially alluring among them was this thoroughly endearing folksy ditty.

Be Nazaara’ (Mom, 2017) — Her only film to feature music by A.R. Rahman. This intriguing re-imagining of a traditional composition hits the spot.


Chinna Kannan’, ‘Kuyile Kavikkuyile’ (Kavikkuyil, 1977) — One of Ilaiyaraja’s first hits, this Sridevi-Sivakumar-Rajnikanth starrer had a short but lovely soundtrack that also marked the Tamil debut of playback singer Sujatha. These two numbers are my favourites from the movie, the former (which became a gold standard for the use of the raga Reethigowlai in films) is sung by classical veteran Dr. Balamuralikrishna.

Sendhoora Poove’ (16 Vayadhinile, 1977) — The movie that would go on to become Sridevi’s gateway to lead roles in Bollywood (through its 1979 remake Solva Sawan). Composed by Ilaiyaraja and written by his brother Gangai Amaran, this song easily counts among the best songs picturised on Sridevi, and quite deservedly fetched the singer S. Janaki a National Award.

Aagaaya Gangai’ (Dharma Yuddham, 1979) — This Malaysia Vasudevan-S. Janaki duet was the musical highlight of the Sridevi-Rajinikanth starrer.

llamai Enum Poongaatru’ (Pagalil Oru Iravu, 1979) — Malayali director I.V. Sasi’s film had a fine soundtrack from Ilaiyaraja penned by Kannadasan.

Endhan Kannil’ (Guru, 1980) — Long before Mani Ratnam’s film of the same name was this Sridevi-Kamal Haasan starrer also from director I.V. Sasi. Once again scored by Ilaiyaraja, this song had Sridevi’s histrionics on full display.

En Vaanile’, ‘Kaatril Endhan’ (Johnny, 1980) — While the movie is spoken about more for Rajinikanth’s handling of the double role, Sridevi was equally brilliant in her portrayal of the singer Archana. And she got to perform two brilliant songs from the formidable trio Ilaiyaraja-Kannadasan-Gangai Amaran.

Sippi Irukkudhu’ (Varumaiyin Niram Sivappu, 1980) — Directed by K. Balachander who gave Sridevi her first movie as heroine (Moondru Mudichu, 1976), the film’s music was scored by M.S. Vishwanathan and this composition had an interesting treatment in that Sridevi had to lip sync to humming, thaanams, etc. by S. Janaki with no real lyrics, pulling it off with her typical flourish.

Radha Radha’ (Meendum Kokila, 1981) — The movie won Sridevi her first Filmfare as best actress. Among Ilaiyaraja’s four songs for the film this would rate the best.

Kanne Kalaimaane’, ‘Poongaatru’ (Moondraam Pirai, 1982) — a repeat listing, but the soundtrack’s brilliance warrants a double representation. The movie also won Sridevi her only Tamil Nadu State Award for Best Actress.

Oru Jeevan’ (Naan Adimai Illai, 1986) — With her new found popularity in Bollywood, this would become her last Tamil movie until she returned for a villainous role in the Vijay starrer Puli in 2015. The film’s music was scored by by Vijay Anand.


Ellaam Shivamayam’ (Kumara Sambhavam, 1969) — One of her earliest films, this mythological had a young (and extremely cute looking) Sridevi playing Lord Subrahmanya. This song has been composed by G. Devarajan and written by O.N.V. Kurup, featuring Sridevi performing all alone in an entire concert.

Arimulla Chedi’ (Poompaatta, 1971) — Another one from Sridevi’s child actor phase, this movie’s performance won her the Kerala State Award for Best Child Artist. This lovely folksy song from the movie was written by Yusufali Kechery and composed by Devarajan.

Aayira Valli’ (Aashirwaadam, 1977) — This film had Sridevi paired opposite her most frequent co-star Kamal Haasan. M.K. Arjunan composed this romantic song featuring the star duo that was sung by Yesudas.

Chingavanathaazhathe’ (Nirakudam, 1977) — Another Kamal Haasan-Sridevi starrer, this folk piece stands out amidst an already brilliant soundtrack from the composer duo Jaya Vijaya and lyricist Bichu Thirumala.

Shishira Kaala’, ‘Shashikala Chaarthiya’ (Devaraagam, 1996) — Sridevi returned to Malayalam cinema after a 14-year hiatus for this 1996 Bharathan film (which was also dubbed into Tamil), acting opposite Aravind Swamy. The movie had a fabulous soundtrack from M.M.Keeravani (aka M.M. Kreem in Hindi), these two being the pick of the lot.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 3:42:03 AM |

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