A superstar who acted in films much ahead of their time, an actor who worked for over five decades in several languages… Sridevi’s death has shocked the entire film industry, and fans across the country who have grown up with her and loved her work.
Sridevi is extremely popular in both Kollywood, where she made her debut as a four-year-old, and Bollywood, where she’s spent a good part of her career. Yet, it is in her mother-tongue, Telugu, that she’s done the maximum number of films. She has over 300 films to her credit in the five decades that she has been acting, and 83 of those films were in Telugu.
And almost all the leading stars of Tollywood have had the pleasure of working with this superstar. Sreedevi had worked with several veteran actors from Akkineni Nageswara Rao (ANR) to NT Rama Rao (NTR).
Like the Tamil film industry, Sridevi began working in Tollywood as a child actor. According to IMDB, she played a role in Maa Nanna Nirdoshi (1970), Agni Pareeksha (1970), Nenu Manishine (1971), Naa Tammudu (1971).
She also acted in Telugu films like Bhakta Tukaram, Marapurani Manishi and Mallamma Katha in 1973.
She also worked as a child artiste in Shrimantudu (1971) which starred ANR, and Bharya Biddalu (1972), which also starred Jayalalithaa.
Her big debut as an adult in the Telugu industry was in 1978, with Padaharella Vayasu – a remake of the Tamil film 16 Vayasinile – directed by K Raghavendra Rao. It starred Chandra Mohan and Mohan Babu along with Sridevi.
She also played the role of NTR’s granddaughter in Badi Panthulu (1972). She would go on to act with NTR in films like Vetagadu (1979), Aatagadu (1980), Sardar Papa Rayudu (1980), Kondaveeti Simham (1981), Bobbili Puli (1982), Anuraga Devata (1982) and Justice Chowdhary (1982).
With ANR, she acted in films like Mudulla Koduku (1979), Premabhishekham (1981), Premakanuka (1981), Guru Sishyulu (1981) and Bangaru Kanuka (1982).
Her other notable films include Karthika Deepam (1979) starring Sohan Babu, Aakali Rajyam in 1981 with Kamal Hassan, Trishulam (1983) and Oka Radha Iddaru Krishnulu in 1986.
She continued acting in Tollywood until the early 90s, when she began focusing on her career in Bollywood, and shifted to the Hindi film industry.
Another big hit in her long career in the Telugu film industry was Kshana Kshanam, where she played the female lead with producer D Ramanaidu’s son Venkatesh.
Director Ram Gopal Varma shared that it was Sridevi's beauty that inspired him to pen the script of Kshana Kshanam which released in 1991.
"Kshana Kshanam was intended by me as a love letter to her. Throughout the making of the film, I just couldn't take my eyes off her charm, her beauty, her personality and her demeanour was a new discovery for me," he wrote after her demise.
Chief Ministers of both Telugu states have expressed their sorrow at the veteran actor's passing.
"Sridevi who acted in Telugu, Hindi and several other Indian languages films had captivated the cine-goers with her beauty, dancing, acting skills and had earned countless fans. It is unfortunate that Sridevi, who was still active in the film industry, died at a young age," Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said in a statement.
The CM said in her death, the Indian film industry had a void and left Telugu film industry in sorrow. However, he said, several characters she depicted in many films would be remembered forever. The CM has conveyed his condolences to the members of the bereaved family.
"Deeply saddened by the sudden demise of India’s legendary actress, Sridevi Ji. My deepest condolences with the family. May they be blessed with strength in this hour of grief," AP CM Chandrababu Naidu tweeted.