Actor-filmmaker Satish Kaushik says after the sudden demise of actress Sridevi, her husband and producer Boney Kapoor couldnt stop crying.
Sridevi passed away following an accidental drowning in a bathtub in her hotel room in Dubai around 11 p.m. on February 24.
"When I heard of ma'am's (Sridevi) death, I couldn't believe it. Boney and I have been friends for 30 years. I called him up. He wept inconsolably. The more we spoke, the more he wept. He just couldn't stop crying. I hung up," said Satish.
Warm, loving, vivacious and a complete actor is how he describes the SADMA star.
"I don't know of anyone who could transform so much once she had make-up on," he said.
"And I don't mean just for the camera. She could dress up for a wedding and she'd look like a different person…And now to see her lying there still and unmoving in that casket…it was heartbreaking," he said after paying his last respects to the star here on Wednesday.
Boney and Satish go back a long way.
"I was serving as an assistant on Shekhar Kapur's JOSHILAAY which Boney produced. This was way back in 1988. I saw Sridevi in HIMMATWALA and I was stunned by her screen presence.
"Javed Akhtar saab recommended her very strongly. She was signed for the female lead of JOSHILAAY along with Anil Kapoor, Sunny Deol and Meenakshi Seshadri. Sridevi played a village belle, a circus owner's daughter and her comic timing was impeccable even back then."
After that, he again got a chance to work with her when she did MR.INDIA.
When she chose a role she embraced it wholeheartedly.
"In her later years, she chose the real-life role of a mother to Janhvi and Khushi. That was her favourite role and the one that she played oblivious to the fact that there was no camera," said Satish.
"I've seen what a good mother she was to the two girls. And now to see Janhvi and Khushi looking so lost without her…"
In terms of sheer numbers, Sridevi's funeral is estimated to have attracted the highest number of mourners, ranking at par with the previous biggest funeral processions of the legendary singer Mohammed Rafi (July 1980: around a million mourners), and India's first superstar Rajesh Khanna (July 2012: a little less than a million mourners).
"I've never seen so many people at anyone's condolence meet or funeral. There was not a dry eye to be seen. Her going away has affected everyone, even those who had never met her. The nation is in grief," said Satish.
[By Subhash K Jha]