LIFE STYLE
“Passing Away Young” & the “thirst to look forever young”
- Manisha Bangar
“Passing Away Young” & the “thirst to look forever young”



I REMEMBER SRIDEVI coming to our residential colony at Napean Sea Road, Malabar hill, Mumbai along with her husband Boney Kapoor as a guest invitee for navratri bash organized by income tax and customs departmental officers and families as they had been doing every year.

Vividly remember this --my daughter had just turned one that year, I was holding our very chubby and curly haired bundle of energy in my arms. She was heavy and I was struggling to keep her still so I stood standing in our colony lawns observing the celebrations when I heard the buzz that this year's surprise would be Sridevi and Boney Kapoor.
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What a surreal make-believe image this filmdom creates of its very human actors full of strengths and flaws both in physical and mental form just like anyone else. They may not even fit the beauty standards of the film world itself to say the least.
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Well they came. Every one thronged to see them close. I have never known myself being star struck or in awe of cine actors so i stood wherever I was like a bystander. Then slowly the crowd thinned away following the music which was playing loud.

Boney as usual looked stocky, out of shape ,baldy and Sridevi in lightly shimmering pastel peach chudidar kameez looked like any other well dressed lady in full poise and a controlled smile.

I remember it so distinctly because not only was I aghast to see such a plain looking not very tall skinny frame inside the elegant dress by also that she was so removed from what and how she looked on the screen. Definitely she was not the woman that Ram Gopal Varma is writing about.

My eyes were on her hands that matched her skin tone which though heavily wheatish showed her hand tendons and veins so prominently that doctors would grade it to be loss of muscle mass bordering on malnourishment.

It was her eyes and especially her eyebrows that had attracted all my attention. They were undoubtedly playful and impressive.

All through the time that I kept holding my daughter the thoughts that raced through my mind were... what a surreal make-believe image this filmdom creates of its very human actors full of strengths and flaws both in physical and mental form just like anyone else. They may not even fit the beauty standards of the film world itself to say the least.

But the sickening larger than life projection like Ram Gopal Varma (not sure if is him or someone else) has done in his message which is circulating in social media is something that is so brutal that it is actually demeaning to the very real existence of humankind or womankind form.

His description is as best that of a star struck fantasizing adolescent boy with dreams of making big in cine world at the same time someone looking for a imaginary muse who would continue to inspire him in his own journey. The fictitious image that he created of Sridevi proves just that.

My daughter is growing up and I am happy that though she admires a lot of teenage singers who have attained stardom but has never been starstruck even as we kept coming across famous personalities and film actors in our life's journey whether in India or overseas. And if she were to read Ram Gopal Varma piece I am sure she will shirk in disgust.

It's sad what Sridevi did to herself...

Perhaps to keep up the "fantasy world image" created by likes of Ram Gopal Varma. Perhaps she too started believing in it herself and got lost in an unreal imaginary world.

The unquenchable desire to look ever young got her on the inexorable downward slide where she started becoming an artificial version of her original self and died young.
 

 
 
 
The author is a Mumbai-based medical practitioner.
 
 

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