At 3.45 am on 25th February, my WhatsApp buzzed with a message. I chose to read it at 6.15 am when I woke up.
‘Veteran actor Sri Devi passes away in Dubai,’ is what the message read.
I re-read it and immediately logged on to Google to check the veracity of this message. When the news became certain, the sadness gripped me hard.
At about 9 am I received another forward which spoke about the life lessons we must take away from this fine actor’s life – and death.
This piece is a very measured response to such messages. What I felt immediately after reading the ‘life lessons’ was immense anger, followed by disgust and then extreme sadness at how petty people are.
I would have liked to write this piece in that frame of mind. But I took a long break to consider what, and why, I must say what I am saying.
1. A section of you believes Sridevi brought this upon herself due to the pressure of needing to look good at all times. Here’s what I’d like to say – Have you ever interacted with Sridevi to understand from her, firsthand, the pressures she was under?
Did she ever speak to you about how much work it was? Or did you ever discuss how she likes to look?
If the answer to all or any of the above questions is ‘no’ then you have little to no right to pass judgement on what may or may not have caused her any trouble.
2. The cardiac arrests were a direct result of facelifts, botox therapy and lip surgeries she allegedly underwent, another set of messages claimed.
To this, I’d like to ask you if you were the surgeon or part of the operating team for all these procedures? If yes, then isn’t there a doctor-patient confidentially you are blatantly breaching? And if no, on what grounds are you making these sweeping medical statements?
Unless you are a qualified medical professional who has had legal access to Sridevi’s medical records, I urge you to keep your non-medical, unsubstantiated opinion to yourself.
3. Husband Boney Kapoor’s love for his late wife is also being questioned. Speculations are rife about why he didn’t ‘intervene’ and whether he wanted Sridevi as ‘arm candy’.
Firstly, this speculation is beyond petty.
It’s their relationship, and we don’t know much about it. Secondly, it is a bit sad that one is assuming Sridevi was essentially Boney Kapor’s doll or something – doomed to do whatever he has.
And even then, even if somehow Boney Kapoor ‘intervened’ in a manner that would have appeased some sections, it is nearly sure that another group would call him interfering and controlling. There is no winning this, so the speculations should end.
Ultimately, what makes you believe that Sridevi was being forced to look a certain way? She had the right and might have even enjoyed looking however she wanted.
4. A section of you has referred to her as a ‘clothes horse’ – i.e. a frame on which clothes are usually hung. What gave you the right to use such a term to describe this ethereal beauty?
As an actor, one is approached by various designers, who take it upon themselves to dress the actor for events. This is a great way for them to showcase their work. How does that make anyone a clothes horse?
Haven’t we loved and cheered her on as she walked wearing a Sabyasachi saree or a Manish Malhotra lehenga?
In any case, taking joy in fashion is wrong, but if she had a collection of luxury cars or bikes, would we call her an ‘engine horse’? This bizarre shaming has no place in our world.
In any case, this is not the time or the place to discuss such things. You have no right to circulate such vicious messages, or to make such sweeping generalisations about life and death.
The lady being discussed has entertained and regaled us with her performances many times, and she has time and again, in interviews, reiterated how important her family is to her.
Do you realise how much pain your message would cause the family? Is that of no concern to you?
My earnest and humble request is that we stop indulging such frivolous talk. Let us nip it in the bud and not forward these messages. Let’s show some respect to the departed soul.