Sridevi — the full story

Sridevi - an actor across generations

Sridevi at a presentation of ‘English Vinglish’ at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival /File Photo   | Photo Credit: Reuters

After a career that encompassed five different film industries and as many decades, that Sridevi is termed as ‘India’s female superstar’ or a ‘pan-India heroine’ is hardly surprising. In an industry where male superstars rule the roost for decades while their heroines come and go, Sridevi’s stamp of dominance over the industry was reflected in how her acting spanned across generations.

In Tamil films alone, Sridevi is one of the very few who has acted with leading stars across three eras: MGR-Sivaji, Rajini-Kamal and Ajith-Vijay.


Sridevi was barely four years old when she made her debut with Thunaivan, where she played a cameo as Lord Muruga. She faced the camera as a child artiste in movies like Kandan Karunai, Adi Parasakthi and Nam Naadu among others.

As a child, she shared the screen with stalwarts of those times like M. G. Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa. The earliest memory of Sridevi might be one of her playing Raja, a boy with a curious expression listening in as MGR sings ‘Nalla perai vaanga vendum pillaigale’.

Another everlasting image of Sridevi is that of her an impish, young girl running around in two pigtails in Babu, where she also acted alongside Sivaji Ganesan. In Adi Parashakti, she essayed the role of Lord Muruga again, while Jayalalithaa played the lead role of Goddess Sakthi. When Jayalalithaa passed away, Sridevi had tweeted an iconic picture of them together, from the movie.


Nothing defined the 70s better than the Rajini-Kamal-Sridevi troika. The film Moondru Mudichu introduced a 13-year-old Sridevi as a leading lady in Tamil cinema. The film starred director K. Balachander’s protégés Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan and went on to become a path-breaking film.

The trio would share screen space in 16 Vayadhinile, with Rajinikanth playing villain yet again. Sridevi’s role as Mayil, a demure village belle with hidden aspirations, earned her many accolades, and the film went on to become a critically acclaimed hit.

Sridevi would then go on to be a part of several successful ventures with Rajinikanth and Kamal. She acted in movies like Priya, Johnny and Gayathri opposite Rajinikanth. Meendum Kokila, Sigappu Rojakkal, Varumayin Niram Sivappu and Moondram Pirai are some of her landmark on-screen collaborations with Kamal Haasan.


Sridevi’s return to the silver screen in the hugely successful English Vinglish in 2012 was not only her comeback film but also one in which actor Ajith shared screen space with her. In the Tamil version, Ajith played the cameo that was played by Amitabh Bachchan in Hindi.

She also played the evil Queen Yuvarani in actor Vijay’s fantasy film Puli, marking her comeback to Tamil cinema in a leading role since her 1986 film Naan Adimai Alla opposite Rajinikanth.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 2:50:15 AM |

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