Sridevi Interview: I was never looking for a female oriented film

Seasoned actress Sridevi, whose last Hindi film was English Vinglish, is now coming up with Mom, which releases on 7th July.

By Mohnish Singh - July 3, 2017

There are only a few Bollywood actresses who have seen an awe-inspiring career like Sridevi. The actress, who started working in films at the tender age of four, went on to appear in several Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada blockbusters. With her perseverance and nonpareil acting prowess, she established her mark in the industry where male actors rule the roost, and built a massive fan following across the length and breadth of the country. The seasoned actress, whose last Hindi film was English Vinglish, is coming back to enthral the audience with her next offering Mom. As the film races towards its release, reporter, Mohnish Singh, catches up with the actress for a candid conversation.

Sridevi Interview: I was never looking for a female oriented film

After English Vinglish, you must have read a number of scripts. So, what special did you find in Mom that you agreed to do it?

Well, it’s a very simple story, a very simple, emotional, family subject. The reason why I did this film was the relationship between mother and daughter. That really moved me. That really touched my heart. And I had a good feeling about this script. I always go by my instinct.

After doing over 300 films, do you get an idea how the film would turn out to be when you sign a new film?

I am not a master in this thing. As an actress when I hear a subject, it should really move me. That is the only thing I go by. Rest of things, like how the film would turn out and all, is producer’s call and, of course, the director who can do justice to the subject. If it’s a good subject, he can make it as a beautiful film. If you watch English Vinglish, it is a very simple, one line film. But the way Gauri (Shinde) treated the film, is amazing.

How do you select your scripts?

When I do a film I think about my children and other family members that how would they react to a particular character! Forget about me being Sridevi and what Sridevi does. I am a normal mother. How I react to certain character is also important. I don’t think about its commercial aspects and all. My approach to selecting movies is very simple. It should move me. It should touch my heart.

Is it a conscious effort by you to do more female oriented movies?

No, there is nothing like that. I was never looking for a female oriented film. It (Mom) just came to me. When films come to me, I see which one is good to do, which really moves me and people can easily identify with the character. That’s it.

The trailer of Mom does not reveal too much about what the story is. Was that a conscious decision to keep it that way?

Yeah, it was my director’s decision. He did not want much to reveal. As the same time, there will be curiosity to know what is more there. So, I think he succeeded in that.

Do you discuss with your family when you sign on a film?

Discussions happen in every family. When you have your own family, you won’t take a decision alone. When you hear something nice, you would like to share it with your family members. I do the same. I share with my daughters and husband. So, of course, I do share.

This is your first film with Nawazuddin Siddiqui. How was the experience?

He is unbelievable. There are few actors who are so versatile. When he plays a villain, you hate him. You get scared of him. You really scare to go near to him. But when he does a vulnerable character, he is unbelievable. He is a very versatile actor and I am a big, big admirer of him and his work. I had a really great experience working with him. Working with Akshay Khanna, Nawaz and the girl who plays my daughter was great. Tremendous work they have done. I was on my toes throughout the film because of working with such great actors. I learnt a lot from them.

Do you feel the era of stars is dying nowadays?

Not really. Media was not that strong in those days, so there was an air of mystery around stars. But now it is different. Todays, generation wants to know more about actors, which is fine.

Any piece of advice do you give to your daughters before they enter the industry?

Like any other mother does, whether your daughter comes in this field or some other fields, you just tell them the right things, to work hard and give your best. Hard work always pays.

You have just completed 50 years working in films. How has been your journey?

You all have seen my journey. What should I say then? It’s been beautiful. It’s been wonderful. And I thank all my co-stars, my directors, my producers, my technicians, my cameramen and choreographers to make me what I am today.

You are one of the most iconic actresses of Indian cinema. Suppose a filmmaker plans to make a film on you, then who would you like to see play you onscreen?

Who am I to decide it? It is a director’s call. It is a director and producer who would decide.

The kind of stardom was there during your times and before that is missing these days. What is your take on that?

I don’t agree. Many actors are doing well and have made their mark in the industry. Whether you take Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Vidya Balan, Kangana Ranaut, Anushka Sharma or Alia Bhatt, they all are special. They all are stars and superstars. They have achieved a lot.

How do you feel that even today fans go crazy about seeing you and meeting you?

We have worked really hard for that. We literally slogged. So, we are happy that they go crazy.

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