This is no film review. Just a whim of penning down two words for one of Bollywood’s most celebrated divas–back from the 80s. It is not any special occasion, not her birthday or any award ceremony or any anniversary of one of her films, that is. But then, you cannot be Sri Devi and not have someone just wanting to write about you for the heck of it…maybe because you’ve bowled that someone over for the umpteenth time with your sheer awesomeness 🙂
So, here are two songs to Sri Devi, artiste of yesteryears working for the mainstream Hindi film industry (which needs no recognition worldwide, to be sure). She has delivered stupendous performances in several of the run-of-the-mill, beaten-to-pulp-track commercial Hindi movies made by the dozens in the 80s, and has managed to quit at the top only by virtue of her tremendous versatility and immense repertoire of histrionic talents. As is known to all, in reality, it takes more than ordinary talent to hone your acting skills in a definitively B grade industry environment that Bollywood of the 80s primarily was, and Sri is made of no ordinary stuff.
While much has been written about these and several other familiar topics, I dedicate these two songs to one of Sri Devi’s most exploited area of expertise; her marvellous comic timing and plethora of visibly mobile expressions to match, which are a viewer’s delight. Also, Sri is one of the best dancing heroines of our times, and does more than justice to these two items with her wonderfully exuberant foot tapping and sheer joy of movement which is almost contagious, her generous oodles of body and tummy fat notwithstanding. Unlike present day heroines who prefer to show off their toned muscles and defined abs rather than their dancing shoes, Sri’s immaculate sense of choreography manages to take my breath away each and every time I watch her.
The songs are in several ways remarkably representative of the time they were made—catchy beats, hackneyed lyrics, burlesque make up, lots of kitsch, largely free of any context related to the film and yet, amazingly entertaining and contemporary. The first song ‘Hawa Hawai’ is from a Shekhar Kapoor (internationally, of ‘Elizabeth’ fame) made 1987 film ‘Mr India’ and the second is from ‘Chalbaaz’, a good-cop-bad-cop-twin story made in 1989 directed by Pankaj Parashar. None of these films are really musicals, but then, in the 80s Bombay, no film was a musical and every single one was.
Without wasting any more words, I then, ladies and gentlemen, proceed to give you SRI DEVI–a star of all times, truly and infinitely charismatic, the aura of star power radiating and pulsating around her in these awesome performances. Enjoy! 🙂