Sridevi's Birth Anniversary: Lesser known facts about the first female superstar

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Sridevi was probably one of the most iconic, talented and celebrated female actors the country ever saw. She was India’s first female ‘superstar’ and pulled a film at the box office with her name. She was the highest paid actress during the 1980s and 90s and many top-notch actors vied to work with her.

Effervescent, bubbly, poignant, beautiful and an effortless as well as a meticulous actress she was a force to be reckoned with and had more clout than some of her lead actors. She acted in films spanning five decades and five languages, constantly working in the film industry since she was 4-years-old. Today, on her first birth anniversary after her untimely and sudden demise, here’s a look at some of the lesser known facts of the charismatic actress’ life.
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  1. Sridevi was born on August 13, 1963. She was named Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan upon birth.
  2. Sridevi made her debut in films as a child artiste in the 1967 Tamil film Kandhan Karunai at the age of 4 and started her career in a lead role as a child with the 1969 mythological film Thunaiva.

3. Sridevi worked in not only Hindi films but also in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam films.

4. Sridevi did many films with superstar Rajinikanth as well. Her first film in an adult role was with Rajinikanth for the 1976 film Moondru Mudichu. While only 13-years-old she played his step-mother in the film. Rajinikanth and Sridevi also teamed up in the latter’s successful and popular film Chaalbaaz.

5. Sridevi worked in 300 films in a career spanning 50 years. She made her comeback to Bollywood with English Vinglish. Mom was her last and 300th film for which she earned her first National Film Awards for Best Actress posthumously.

6. Sridevi was a great co-star which is a testimony to the fact that she had many successful collaborations with A-lister heroes. She did 13 films with Anil Kapoor, including Mr. India and Laadla. She starred in 16 films with Jeetendra and a whopping 27 films with Kamal Haasan which includes films in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada.

7. Sridevi and Jaya Prada’s rivalry was what legends are made of. The two actresses were extremely popular during the 1980s and it is said that they couldn’t stand each other while shooting for the film Maqsad. It is said that at one time while shooting, Rajesh Khanna and Jeetendra locked the two actresses in a room together hoping that they would invariably end up talking to each other. However, two hours later, they were found sitting in the opposite corners of the room.

8. Sridevi had a tough time speaking Hindi as she did not know the language. Her films were often dubbed. Chandni was the first film for which the actress lends her own voice. Her voice was mostly dubbed by actress Naaz. Rekha had dubbed for her in the film, Aakhiri Raasta.

9. Sridevi was offered a role in Steven Spielberg’s hit film Jurassic Park but she turned it down as she did not want to take a hiatus from Bollywood. She was supposed to play a double role in Shah Rukh Khan starrer Bazzigar but the makers felt that SRK killing her character will not hold well with the audience and the plot was subsequently changed.

10. Sridevi was an artist too. She painted a picture of Sonam Kapoor Ahuja from her film Saawariya and was supposed to auction it off right after Mohit Marwah’s wedding but she died soon thereafter.

11. Sridevi’s daughters Janhvi Kapoor and Khushi Kapoor were named after the heroines in husband Boney Kapoor’s films Judaai and Hamara Dil Aapke Pass Hai. In Judaai, Urmila Matondkar’s character was named Janhvi whereas Sonali Bendre played Khushi in Hamara Dil Aapke Pass Hai.

12. Sridevi was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honor in 2013 by the Government of India.

13. Sridevi won 5 Filmfare Awards for Best Actress.

14. Sridevi also sang for a few of her films. Sridevi did playback for Sadma, Chandni, Garajna, Kshana Kshanam.

15. Sridevi turned producer with the film Shakti: The Power which was based on the film and novel Not Without My Daughter. She was supposed to play the lead role but could not do it as she became pregnant with her second daughter Khushi.

16. Sridevi turned down the lead role in Indra Kumar’s Beta opposite Anil Kapoor which was later done by Madhuri Dixit. Sridevi turned down the role as she had already starred in many films with Anil. She was also the first choice for Juhi Chawla’s role in Darr. Madhuri has also stepped in to take her place after her demise in Karan Johar’s upcoming period-drama Kalank.

17. Sridevi’s last on-screen appearance will be in Aanand L Rai’s Zero. The film stars Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma in the lead.

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