Sridevi passes away: Solva Sawan director Bharathiraja says actress was initially skeptical of Bollywood

Surendhar MK

February 25, 2018 15:21:46 IST

Veteran filmmaker Bharathiraja, who directed Sridevi in one of her earliest breakthrough roles in Tamil cinema with 16 Vayathinile and later remade the film in Hindi as Solva Sawan, reminisces how the legendary actress refused to set foot in Bollywood. In the film, the gifted actress played a 19-year-old girl named Mayil.

Sridevi and Amol Palekar during the shoot of Solva Sawan. Image from Twitter/@FilmHistoryPic

Sridevi and Amol Palekar with Bharathiraja during the shoot of Solva Sawan. Image from Twitter/@FilmHistoryPic

"Sridevi brilliantly aced a handful of movies as a child artist before landing her first lead role in Tamil films. Despite discontinuing her studies and not possessing academic excellence, she had an uncanny ability to grasp things quickly and deliver roles with consummate ease. I have worked in four films with her. Her infectious smile will never fade away from my memory. She's truly an actor extraordinaire," Bharathiraja told reporters.

After making her debut as the lead heroine in K Balachander's Moondru Mudichu, where she acted alongside Tamil cinema's biggest superstars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, she again went on to act with them in Bharathiraj's classic Tamil film, 16 Vayathinile. Bharathiraja also helmed Sridevi's psychological thriller Sigappu Rojakkal which starred Kamal Haasan in the lead role.

16 Vayathinile, which transformed the landscape of Kollywood by becoming the first Tamil movie to be entirely shot outdoors, was remade in Hindi as Solva Sawan. It marked the debut of Sridevi in Bollywood in a leading role. Bharathiraja wielded the megaphone for the Hindi version too, which marked his Bollywood debut, as well.

"There are a lot of actresses who forayed into Bollywood and other industries and disappeared without a trace. But Sridevi was an exception. She ruled all the film industries during her heydays. Today, I can proudly say that I'm the one who introduced her in Bollywood through Solva Sawan where she shared the screen with Amol Palekar. When I told her about the remake idea, she was skeptical and refused to set foot in Hindi cinema. Then I promised her that I would take care of everything and convinced her to do the film. She later climbed up the ladder of Bollywood through her relentless hard work and extraordinary talent," he said.

Calling her sudden demise an irreparable loss to Indian cinema, Bharathiraja said she's one of the few personalities who brought immense respect to the state of Tamil Nadu through her filmdom.

Sridevi breathed her last in the late night of Saturday (24 February) in Dubai after succumbing to a massive cardiac arrest. She was attending the wedding of her nephew and actor Mohit Marwah. She was 54 and is survived by husband Boney Kapoor and her two daughters – Janhvi and Khushi.

Updated Date: Feb 25, 2018 15:21 PM