10 iconic films that elevated Sridevi to the ranks of Bollywood's biggest stars

10 iconic films that elevated Sridevi to the ranks of Bollywood's biggest stars
In a country that idolises its male superstars, Sridevi's stardom is unparalleled. She was instrumental in bridging the gap between Bollywood and South Indian cinema, making her not only one of India's biggest superstars but also one of the country's greatest actors. Sridevi had a career spanning more than five decades, with over 300 films to her credit in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi. Sridevi has been an inspiration to many, both inside and outside the industry, since her first appearance as a four-year-old Lord Murugan in Kandhan Karunai (1967) to her most recent major film, Mom.Sridevi has served as an inspiration to many people both inside and outside of the entertainment industry. When she returned to the big screen after a 15-year hiatus in Gauri Shinde's English Vinglish (2012), it felt like the start of a new chapter in her life; however, her untimely death on February 24, 2018, left a huge void that may never be filled. Her legacy lives on in the films she has directed, the people she has collaborated with, and the hearts of her fans.

Looking to go beyond the obvious choices in her filmography? Here are ten critically acclaimed Sridevi films to get you started:

MOONDRU MUDICHU (1976)

10 iconic films that elevated Sridevi to the ranks of Bollywood's biggest stars

Moondru Mudichu, a remake of the Telugu film O Seetha Katha, was Sridevi's first film as a lead female actor in Tamil cinema, as well as the first time she collaborated with Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. The film, directed by K Balachander, is about Selvi (Sridevi), who lives in the same apartment complex as Balaji (Kamal Haasan) and Prasad (Rajinikanth). Although Balaji is in love with Selvi, Prasad has his own plans; however, things take a dramatic turn following Balaji's death and Selvi's entry into Prasad's life as his step-mother! Sridevi was only 13 years old when she played this much older and mature character, which she pulled off with aplomb. K Balachander is said to have asked Kamal Haasan to be her babysitter, and the actor quickly became her mentor. The film laid the groundwork for her movie stardom, and it marked the beginning of a lifelong friendship between Sridevi and Haasan.

16 Vayathinile (1977)

10 iconic films that elevated Sridevi to the ranks of Bollywood's biggest stars

The film, directed by Bharathiraja, was a game changer not only for Sridevi, but also for Tamil cinema in terms of how they portrayed realism and rural life. The story follows the trials and tribulations of a 16-year-old girl named Mayil (Sridevi), who has big dreams for her future. However, when her relationship with a suitor ends on a sour note, it sets off a chain of events in her life that forces her to make a decision about her future. The performances of Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth are outstanding, and the music, composed by Ilaiyaraaja, adds to the film's cult status. Sridevi went on to reprise the same role in the Telugu (Padaharella Vayasu) and Hindi (Solva Sawan) remakes of the film, which helped launch her career in both industries.

Moondram Pirai (1982)

10 iconic films that elevated Sridevi to the ranks of Bollywood's biggest stars

Moondram Pirai, a classic romantic drama directed by Balu Mahendra and later remade in Hindi as Sadma, is heartbreaking. The film, which was inspired in part by Balu Mahendra's own life experiences, focuses on the relationship between Srinivas (Kamal Haasan) and Bhagyalakshmi (Sridevi), and how Srinivas helps rescue her from a brothel and cares for her as she tries to recover from retrograde amnesia. Sridevi poured her childlike enthusiasm into one of her most difficult roles, which went on to become a career milestone for her.

Premabhishekam (1981)

10 iconic films that elevated Sridevi to the ranks of Bollywood's biggest stars

Premabhishekam, directed by Dasari Narayana Rao, stars Akkineni Nageswara Rao and Sridevi and follows the journey of a couple Rajesh and Devi, whose relationship hits a snag after Rajesh is diagnosed with terminal illness. The film was also a musical success, with songs such as 'Naa Kallu Chebuthunnayi' and 'Vandanam Abhivandanam' becoming evergreen hits.

Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari (1990)

10 iconic films that elevated Sridevi to the ranks of Bollywood's biggest stars

Jagadeka Veerudu, a fantasy action drama directed by K Raghavendra Rao In many ways, Athiloka Sundari, starring Chiranjeevi and Sridevi, was a tribute to Sridevi's alluring beauty. In the film, she plays an angel who is compelled to visit Earth in order to retrieve a magical ring that she misplaced in the Himalayas. Sridevi's onscreen chemistry with Chiranjeevi and her playfulness are palpable in every scene, and the duo went on to set the screens on fire in what became one of Telugu cinema's landmark films of the 1990s. The film is also remembered for its songs and Amrish Puri's portrayal of a wizard. The film's larger-than-life backdrop and epic action sequences captivated a generation of moviegoers, and Sridevi was rightfully christened Athiloka Sundari, which translates to ethereal beauty.

Kshana Kshanam (1991)

10 iconic films that elevated Sridevi to the ranks of Bollywood's biggest stars

In his own words, Ram Gopal Varma's road thriller Kshana Kshanam was a love letter to Sridevi. Soon after making his debut with Shiva, the filmmaker persuaded his favourite actor to join the cast of Satya, a young girl who becomes embroiled in a clash between cops and bank robbers and seeks the assistance of a small-time thief Chandu (Venkatesh) to get out of the situation. Kshana Kshanam was quite ahead of its time, despite having a slew of eccentric characters, including a very eccentric Paresh Rawal as a bank robber. RGV's realistic filmmaking style is evident, as is his undying love for Sridevi, who was at her best in the film.

Mr India (1987)

10 iconic films that elevated Sridevi to the ranks of Bollywood's biggest stars

Mr India, directed by Shekhar Kapur and the film that made Sridevi a Bollywood superstar, is a superhero film with all the hallmarks of an Indian potboiler. She portrayed Seema, a journalist who falls in love with Arun (Anil Kapoor), a caring man who looks after a group of orphaned children. Sridevi won everyone's heart with her sensual performance in the song Kaate Nahi, her unbridled enthusiasm in, and an impersonation of in a casino sequence. Sridevi nailed it with her performance in this classic, whether it was in the comic sequences—Hawaii, or the Charlie Chaplin impersonation at the casino—or romance—her iconic Kaate Nahi sequence in the blue sari.

Chalbaaz (1989)

10 iconic films that elevated Sridevi to the ranks of Bollywood's biggest stars

Sridevi played dual roles to perfection in Pankaj Parashar's Chaalbaaz, which was loosely based on the 1973 film Seeta aur Geeta. Sridevi played Anju, a submissive young girl tormented by her uncle and aunt, and Manju, a boisterous street-smart girl growing up in a slum. The plot revolves around how these twins, who were separated at birth, end up swapping places and eventually reuniting to discover the truth about their shared history.

Lamhe (1991)

10 iconic films that elevated Sridevi to the ranks of Bollywood's biggest stars

Sridevi reprised her dual roles in Chopra's Lamhe, but this time as mother and daughter. Lamhe tells the storey of Viren (Anil Kapoor), who falls in love with Pallavi (Sridevi), but is heartbroken when she falls in love with another man. Pallavi and her husband are killed in a car accident soon after, leaving behind their only daughter Pooja, who grows up to look exactly like her mother. The plot twist comes years later, when Pooja falls in love with Viren. The film was considered daring and ahead of its time, but that didn't stop people from praising Sridevi's performance. Lamhe, a personal favourite of Yash Chopra's, has stood the test of time and gained acclaim.

English Vinglish (2012) 

10 iconic films that elevated Sridevi to the ranks of Bollywood's biggest stars

After a 15-year hiatus, Sridevi returned to the big screen in Gauri Shinde's heartwarming drama English Vinglish. Sridevi portrayed Shashi, a middle-aged woman who is frequently mocked by her own family, making her feel insecure. When Shashi travels to New York to assist her sister in preparing for a family wedding, she enrols in an English class that changes her life and the lives of those around her. Sridevi's performance struck a chord with the audience, and she personified the daily struggle that many women face.







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