Yeh Lamhe Yeh Pal Hum

It doesn’t make sense, this feeling of loss.  It really doesn’t. I didn’t know the person, though God knows I tried, leafing through film glossies, and flicking away the strands of hair that found its way into its pages, at the barber shop, waiting for a haircut when it was most crowded.

But perhaps it does. Perhaps it does make sense. The sadness.

Because we do know our celebrities, or rather their projections,  the characters and the books and the matches they played,  because of the way they imprint themselves on our lives, our likes, on the very fabric of who we are and become.

So it is with Sridevi. So it is. Waiting in sweaty lines for “Sridebi-r peekchar”, jostling and shoving, protecting my wallet from the pickpockets and pushing forward. Of her cavorting in that blue sari in Mr India and me being overpowered by the first stirrings of feelings whose truth I would come to realize only later. Of the salt of tears at the end of Sadma. Of her clutching the picture and sensuously writhing into a snake in Nagina. Of me walking into half yearly exams, holding my clipboard and pencil box, strains of “Are you ready? Are you ready” from Nakabandi playing in my head. Of stepping into the teens, with my voice cracking, and pimples erupting, trying to scratch at the surface of the truth of love and loss in Chandni, and then slightly older, and considering myself much more mature and worldly-wise, of repeating that exercise in Lamhe, and coming out of the theater, as clueless but as immensely moved as before.

There will be time later to contemplate her legacy,  how she could seamlessly transition between comedy, sensuality and action, demure one second, leather whip dominant in another, smiling and winking this moment, and throwing kicks the next, elevating often middling material to pop-culture art,  how effortlessly she broke the fourth wall at a time when we didn’t even know what that was, of her being Govinda before Govinda became Govinda, dancing as much with her body as her face, of having the ability to blot out, time and time again, her male stars in a Bollywood that was and still mostly remains a vehicle for male machismo, out-Rajnikanting a movie that had Rajanikant, and out-Kamaling a movie that had Kamal Hassan.

There will be time later for all that intellectualizing. But for now, let us lean back and reflect on that which is gone.

The Chandni.

The Chaalbaaz.

The Lamhe.

And a bit of ourselves.


7 thoughts on “Yeh Lamhe Yeh Pal Hum

  1. Rest In Peace – the actress who carried herself graciously . Life is fickle. That’s all it is.

  2. “her being Govinda before Govinda became Govinda, dancing as much with her body as her face, out-Rajnikanting a movie that had Rajanikant, and out-Kamaling a movie that had Kamal Hassan.” You touched some chords there. RIP SriDevi

  3. Rgvzoomin krsangi February 26, 2018 — 3:32 am

    I hate him for taking her away

  4. My abiding memory is something else…and that is what did it for my impressions about the people involved, in terms of who was probably most ambitious, who was probably a better actress than any other around, and who was probably a better person in person.

    1993. Filmfare Awards night. Best Actress Award to be announed.

    Rekha on stage to announce the winner.

    Nominees are announced…

    Madhuri for Beta. Montage from the movie. Camera pans over to Madhuri: face showing signs of strain, as if she’s praying hard.

    Next up. Sridevi for Khuda Gawah. Montage from movie. Camera pans over to Sridevi: face as impassive and expressionless as only a diva, who knows she’s a diva, can have.

    Third nominee, Juhi Chawla for Bol Radha Bol. Montage. Cut to Juhi: sitting next to Javed Jafferi…joking away and laughing heartily…big wide smile and all that.

    Rekha holds up the envelope.

    The camera pans across again to the nominees faces yet again.

    Madhuri is now totally off colour, ashen faced and worse than wilted.

    Sridevi impassive as ever.

    Juhi continues to joke and laugh without a care.

    And then, Rekha opens the envelope and announces.

    Madhuri it is!

    Cameraman shows them all again.

    Madhuri is blooming all over like a million watts, radiating a smile as winsome and wide as the nile.
    Sridevi: impassive.
    Juhi: you guessed it…continues to joke, smile and laugh without a care.

    They were all tops in their game, just that Sridevi was the best.

  5. Aishwarya Abhisekh nxt February 27, 2018 — 4:22 am

    न जाने क्यूँ , एक अजीब सी घबराहट हो रही है !!

  6. She was my teenage crush (as she was for countless others of my age). It’s so painful to read about her untimely death.

  7. sulagana biswas June 6, 2018 — 5:47 pm

    Reading this now, nearly four months later. Social media rejoices over the great reconciliation between the Mona and Sridevi branches of the Boney Kapoor family. arjun kapoor has accepted his step-sisters, gasp, gasp! A few still hold on to the murder in the bathtub theory. Madhuri is on every channel, every youtuber’s bucket list. life goes on being that awful cliche.

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