27 February, Mumbai
Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, who directed Sridevi in films like “Great Robbery”, “Govindhaa… Govindhaa…” and “Hairaan”, says that the late actress has been a “very unhappy woman” and her life was a “classic case of how each person’s actual life is completely different from how the world perceives it”.
Sridevi, 54, died on Saturday in a Dubai hotel bathroom. The autopsy report called it an “accidental drowning” in the bathtub.
In a personal note on her, Varma says that she was the most desirable woman and the biggest super star of the country but that’s’just a part of the story.
He wrote: “For many, Sridevi’s life was perfect. Beautiful face, great talent, seemingly stable family with two beautiful daughters. From outside everything looked so enviable and desirable… But was Sridevi a very happy person and did she lead a very happy life?”
Varma says that he was aware about her life from the time he first met her for his film “Kshana Kshanam.”
“I saw with my own eyes how her life was like a bird in the sky till her father’s death and then became like a bird in a cage due to her overprotective mother. In those days, actors used to be only paid in mostly black money and due to fear of tax raids her father used to trust friends and relatives who all betrayed her the moment the father died,” he wrote.
“Coupled with this the ignorant mother made many wrong investments in litigated properties and all those mistakes combined made her penny-less by the time Boney Kapoor came into her life. Boney himself was in huge debt,” he said.
Once the mother died, he added, her younger sister Shri Latha eloped and got married to their neighbours son.”
He said that before dying, the mother had put all properties in Sridevi’s name. “But her sister put a case on her demanding half the property claiming that her mother was insane and not in her senses when she signed the will due to the brain surgery…So in effect the woman desired by millions in the world was all alone in the world except for one Boney,” added Verma.
Verma said that except for a short glimmer of ‘English Vinglish’ (her comeback film), Sridevi had been pretty much very unhappy. “She went through so much in her life and due to her early career entry, life never gave her time to grow up at a normal pace,” he said.
“More than the external peace, her internal mental state was of a high degree of concern and this caused her to look at her own self. She was the most beautiful woman for so many people. But did she think she was beautiful?, the filmmaker asked rhetorically.
For the filmmaker, Sridevi “always came across as very shy, insecure and low on confidence.”
He said that she was “panicky about anybody knowing what her psychological insecurities were.” She was “very uptight, who built a psychological wall around her” as she was scared of anybody to really see what’s going on within her.
“Not because of her fault, but because she was thrust with fame from a very young age that never gave her a chance to be independant and be what she could really be and really wanted to be. She had to put on the make up and be somebody else not just infront of the camera, but also behind the camera,” he said.
Varma says that she was scared whether her daughters — elder one Janhvi who is set to make her Bollywood debut with “Dhadak” and younger one Khushi, would be accepted
“I could see in her eyes the pain she was going through deep inside her and that’s because she is actually a child trapped in a woman’s body…she is naive as a person, but suspicious because of her bitter experiences, which is not a very good combination…,” he said.
“Coming to her death, it is most likely a combination of heart stroke induced accidental drowning death in the tub. But medications might have played a huge role,” added Verma.
He also states that many suicides and accidental deaths happen after big parties or weddings.
“That’s because people with depression and insecurities can’t understand why the whole world is so happy and enjoying, but they are not able to feel the happiness inspite of all the glitter and spotlight. That reminds them that they are deeply sad and that there is nothing wrong with the world and the fault is with just them that they are not able to feel anything,” said the filmmaker.
“Some people who are very deeply depressed commit suicide. Others, just to control their depression and anxiety, take extra pills not knowing that it can be dangerous in certain doses and conditions,” he added
“Keeping the speculations on her death aside and coming back to the point of her life, I generally don’t say ‘Rest In Peace’ after people die, but in her case I want to really say it because I very strongly believe that she would finally and really rest in peace now for the first time in her life, or shall I say death?”