Today morning KTV was showing the movie “Johnny”. Its a Tamil movie made in 1980 starring Rajinikanth in a double act and Sridevi, as the actress. The storyline is interesting and simple – Sridevi is a popular singer, and Johnny (Rajinikanth) is her ardent fan. Rajinikanth as Johnny is a small time thief and is crazy about Sridevi’s singing. She notices him in all her concerts and slowly both of them fall in love. Sridevi proposes to Johnny and he accepts, while still not revealing his being a small time thief. The look alike Rajinikanth also has a love interest who cheats on him and he kills her. When he comes to know that Johnny is wanted for the thefts, he conveniently pins the murder on him and even tries to take refuge in Sridevi’s house. The lookalike soon realises his folly and tells the truth to Sridevi. He urges her to do a concert so that Johnny comes out of hiding. A storm gathers and it rains heavily but Sridevi still goes to the concert venue and sings. The lookalike surrenders to the police in the guise of Johnny and re-unites the lovers in the process.
Listen to the song that is picturised on Sridevi…. its an all time classic and an all time favourite of mine. There is something about Raja’s music and S. Janaki’s singing that sets this song apart.
While watching the video clip also try and imagine a 17 year old Sridevi acting as Archana the singer in this movie… just incredible.
The opening lines of the song mean “My song searches for the unseen you” and today, the song seems to be for her. I was in tears as I watched this movie today and this particular song because with all that talent, she missed the most important thing in life – accepting herself, her age and body for the way it was. I don’t know if she got surgeries done except a nose job that was spoken about widely, and I don’t know if she popped pills to remain thin, but she certainly seemed a shadow of herself in English Vinglish and her TV appearances from what I remember her from the Tamil movies. We kept commenting amongst ourselves that she looks wan and needs to get back to her sparkling self. We also wondered is she was having some sort of ailment.
For me Sridevi will be forever the way she looks in this song –
I never watched any of her Hindi movies till English Vinglish because I always felt she was just used for her glamour quotient and never her incredible acting skills. I did like Mr. India, Chandni, Jaanbaaz and a few other movies, but nothing matches up to her movies in Tamil. I also watched “Mom” on TV a few weeks back and was swept away with her acting once again.
Yesterday we were in Guwahati and Krishnan woke up suddenly at 4 am … saw the news of Sridevi passing away and woke me up to tell me the news. Both of us were truly heartbroken and are still thinking about her and her life. We were going through the list of Tamil movies she has done and many of those classic movies were done by her as a teenager. I can’t think of another actor who had such an amazing ability to act in mature roles at such a young age. You never see Sridevi in any of her movies, you just see the character that she is playing, that’s what made her special.
Just wishing she could have lived longer but like my friend Adeeti wrote “Jitani Chabi Bhari Ram Ne, Uthna Chale Khilona…” (lyrics from the song “rote rote hasna seekho” from the movie Andha Kanoon”).
Farewell Sridevi. Come back soon and restart the journey you left midway….