Sridevi, who entered the Tamil films as a child star at the age of four and went on to become a heroine in K Balachandar's Moondru Mudichu opposite veteran actors Kamal Hassan and Rajini Kanth in 1976, died after a cardiac arrest in Dubai, aged 54. She had gone to Dubai to attend a wedding with her husband Boney Kapoor when she suffered a heart attack, cutting short a brilliant film career.
She was 54 and she leaves behind Boney Kapoor and daughters Khushi and Janhvi.
Sridevi, (1963-2008), was born in Sivakasi in Virudhanagar in a Congress family and made her debut at the age of four before Balachandar launched her as a heroine in his Moondru Mudichu. Bharathi Raja cast her opposite Kamal and Rajini in his silver jubilee hit Padhinaru Vayadhinale. This was followed by another hit of director Mahendran's Johnny where she again paired with Rajini.
She did several memorable roles with Kamal in movies like Balachandar's Varumaiyin Niram Sivappu and Balu Mahendra's Moondram Pirai which was made in Hindi also as Sadma. Her other outstanding movies include Vazhve Mayam, a remake of Devadas where she acted with Kamal, and in Priya with Rajini and many more..
At the height of her career in Tamil and Telugu films, she married Boney Kapoor and moved to Bollywood in 1997 and took a break. In 2012, Sridevi returned to films after a 15-year gap with English Vinglish which was a big hit.
She was a recipient of Padma Shri and best actress award four times by Filmfare and awards by the Tamil, Kerala and Andhra Governments.
Unlike south Indian directors who exploited her acting potential to the full, Hindi film makers only cast her as a glamourous star, barring a few films like Chandni, Lamhe, Mr India and Nagina in the 1990s.
She won praise and awards for English Vinglish after she made a re-entry with serous roles.
Amitabh Bhachan, who did a cameo role in English Vinglish, tweeted on Saturday night that he was in the grip of an uneasy fear. "Na jaane kyun, ek ajeeb si ghabrahat ho rahi hain", he said. His disquiet is now being seen as an eerie premonition - hours later, the world learnt of her passing..
Kamal and Rajini have taken to the Twitter to express their grief .
Kamal said: "Have witnessed Sridevi's life from an adolescent teenager to the magnificent lady she became. Her stardom was well deserved. Many happy moments with her flash through my mind, including the last time I met her. Sadma's lullaby haunts me even now. We'll miss her."
Rajini said:"I am shocked and very disturbed. I have lost a dear friend and the industry a true legend. My heart goes out to her family and friends. I feel their pain. You will be missed"
In another tweet in Tamil, Rajini said that behind the camera, Sridevi was a very simple person. But once she went before the camera, she was a bundle of emotions.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have also tweeted their condolences:
Sridevi was not the first to move from Tamil to Hindi and make it big. She had illustrious predecessors like Vaijayantha Mala, Hemamalini and Rekha. But they were all dancers of repute, though Rekha was not in the same class she was immensely successful as an actor.. Sridevi made her mark by her sheer acting talent.
Her passing marks the end of an era in regional and Hindi cinema.