New Delhi: Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra has penned a heartfelt tribute in an international magazine to the Indian cinema icon Sridevi, whose sudden death in Dubai late Saturday sent shock-waves through the country.
Writing in the TIME magazine, she said, "Sridevi Kapoor shared an intimate relationship with the camera, and it loved her like no other, passionately capturing every aspect of that expressive face and her equally expressive frame. She loved it back with equal force."
Talking about how Sridevi was India’s first female superstar and how she had starred in close to 300 movies over five decades, Priyanka wrote, "She owned every frame of every film she was in—without the need of a male co-star, bringing in audiences and setting the box office alight, firmly on her own shoulders."
On a personal note, Priyanka said, "Everyone wanted her and wanted to be like her. She could be childlike, grown up, funny, serious, beguiling, sexy - she was the ultimate actor... She was my childhood, and one of the big reasons I became an actor. To refer to all of us as mere fans would be a disservice to her."
She also writes about the shock she felt when hearing about Sridevi's demise, "When the news first broke of her passing, I was immobilised. All I could do then was listen to songs from her films, revisit her interviews and watch her iconic scenes over and over again."
Priyanka ends the tribute on a touching note. "She left us too soon... But angels don’t pass on. They just shine brighter in another realm - so I will always look out for her in the sky. Thank you for the magic, Sri ma’am. Forever your fan."
The 54-year-old actor was given a state funeral on Wednesday with her body wrapped in the tricolour and a gun salute by the Mumbai Police.
Sridevi's body was taken to the Celebration Club at 9 am by her family members. Inside the hall, her family, including brothers-in-law Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Kapoor, stood in a corner. Jahnvi and Khushi were standing a little behind them.
Her funeral procession was the biggest Mumbai had seen for a Bollywood star since Rajesh Khanna in 2012 and perhaps the biggest for a woman actor. There was a sea of people as far as the eye could see.
The funeral procession took about two hours to cover the seven-kilometre distance from Lokhandwala to the crematorium.
The last rites were conducted by her filmmaker husband Boney Kapoor as her family and close friends from the industry and outside packed into the Vile Parle Seva Samaj crematorium.
The actor's body was draped in a red kanjivaram sari with a bindi on her forehead. Ceremonial gunshots rang out and the pyre was lit.
Her body was flown back to Mumbai on Tuesday night after the Dubai authorities determined that she had accidentally drowned in her hotel bathtub.
Sridevi, Indian cinema's first woman superstar who straddled the parallel worlds of southern films and Bollywood, became an actor when she was only four years old.
Three hundred films later, the doe-eyed star is still remembered for her comic timing, vivacity and her quicksilver expressions.
(With PTI inputs)