We May Never Know What Killed Sridevi — But Show Respect, I Beg!
You live in public eye and you die in public eye, but raising bizarre questions is not okay, writes Manjit Walia.
“Shocked beyond words to hear about Sridevi’s untimely death”, read my cousin’s post on Facebook. There we go again, I thought to myself, yet another celebrity death hoax.
I didn’t even care to check the news at first. But it kept playing on my mind, and so I finally did. It broke my heart... it really did. I cried, in disbelief and in sadness.
Even during her 15-year sabbatical from the movies, if someone asked me who my favourite actress was, I would say Sridevi. And that sums it up for me. She is, and will always be, irreplaceable. The one and only, par excellence, a true master of her craft, my all-time favourite.
Since the news of Sridevi’s death broke, people from all walks of life and all across the world have been paying touching tributes to her. Heart-warming and beautiful obituaries have been written, reminiscing about the twinkle in her eyes in Chandni, her impeccable comic timing in Chaalbaaz, her innate dancing skill, her professionalism, and her successful acting career in regional and Hindi cinema alike.
Unfortunately, however, several stories about Sridevi’s personal life, the cosmetic procedures that she may (or may not) have undergone, and the "mysterious" cause of her death have been doing the rounds. I guess that comes with being a celebrity. You live in the public eye, and you die in the public eye.
But one such disrespectful and spiteful story, that was shared with me on WhatsApp, earlier on 26 February, was a blog written by Vinita Dawra Nangia, who is a Senior Editor with The Times of India. She has also authored motivational, and self-help books.
In her blog headlined ‘We Will Never Know What Killed Sridevi’, Nangia raises some bizarre questions about the actor’s death. Sample these:
Why did Sridevi die a few weeks before the release of her daughter’s debut movie, just like Mona Kapoor (Boney Kapoor’s first wife) died a few weeks before her son Arjun Kapoor’s debut release?
Was Mona Kapoor’s regret over her broken home so vast that it hung around and took Sridevi in its wake? Was her hurt at being upstaged by Sridevi in her husband’s life so deep that it ensured Sridevi too didn’t stay around long enough? Or is it to do with Boney’s destiny?
Sridevi was India’s first female superstar, with a career spanning more than four decades. with as many as 250 films to her credit. However, Nangia chooses to write about her personal life, and her relationship with the “hapless” Boney Kapoor. She makes statements about the actor’s diet and exercise regimen, and labels her a “porcelain beauty”.
All this, merely hours after Sridevi’s death, when even the last rites have not been conducted, is disrespectful, hurtful, and unethical, to say the least.
As stated in her blog, Nangia knew Sridevi as much as any cinema-going Indian knew her. So, clearly she is not a friend, or a colleague, or even an acquaintance. In that case, such claims make one wonder exactly what is the source of her blog’s contents. Hearsay, rumours, gossip at best.
One would expect the senior editor of a national daily and writer of motivational, self-help books to be a bit more responsible and ethical. More importantly, one would expect someone with her credentials to show some empathy.
Yes, we will (we might) never know what killed Sridevi, Nangia. However, by choosing to analyse and criticise the choices made by Sridevi in her personal life, instead of highlighting and celebrating her illustrious career, you are undermining her talent, and her contribution to India’s film industries.
The description to one of Nangia’s books says that at the “core of the writings is the belief that though deeply connected, we are all self-sufficient beings, responsible for our own life and happiness. Take charge of your life and live it as you wish to!”
Practise what you preach, will you, Nangia?
(Manjit Walia is a 35-year-old die-hard Bollywood fan, and is based out of London. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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