And now the tweets have started. Which is expected. Always the first reaction after a death. In this case, they are interestingly similar and interestingly wide-ranging.
We just went through this with Shashiji’s death, and now the same pattern is happening, as it always does. Those who are part of the film industry but not necessarily close to the family will post a tweet. Not in an attempt to gain attention or anything shallow like that (well, usually not), but because it is the expected thing to do. As a junior member of the film fraternity, when an elder dies, you show your respect for her and for the family by posting an appropriate simple tweet. And then the media equally respectfully reports it (in this case, I am getting tweets from rediff here. There are even more I have not repeated)
The people who truly knew the family, they are slower to respond. Because often they are actually with the family. Or, sometimes, they are so defeated that it is taking them time to figure out what to say. Or they are aware that what they say will be heavily repeated and wish to be sure it is correct. So far, we have not heard from Shahrukh Khan who worked with her once and will be aware anything he says will be repeated multiple times, and Amitabh who worked with her twice and must also be aware that whatever he says will be repeated.
There are a few of the larger names who are beginning to be heard from. Kamaal Haasan and Rajinikanth, possibly her co-stars who knew her best, both issued lengthy statements. And both are flying to Bombay today to be with the family and at the funeral. Their statements now are partly due to press ambushes which forced them to speak before they might have been fully ready.
(First half in Tamil, then he repeats in English)
Rajinikanth followed his press ambush with a simple twitter message:
I’m shocked and very disturbed. I’ve lost a dear friend and the industry has lost a true legend. My heart goes out to her family and friends. I feel the pain with them #RIPSridev … you will be missed.
The family is beginning to gather, Arjun Kapoor had left Dubai and the wedding early to go to his film shoot. He flew in to Bombay this morning from the shoot, heading to his uncle Anil Kapoor’s house. Meanwhile the press has gathered outside of Sridevi and Boney’s building. And the first mourner to be photographed visiting is Neelima Azeem, Shahid’s mother and the mother of Jhanvi’s first co-star. An appropriate person to come, she has a special bond with the family at this moment, the one person as focused on getting Jhanvi’s film released and released well as Sridevi herself.
But what I find most interesting so far are the twitter tributes from those who were not close to Sridevi or her family. It is so wide-reaching and so sincere. Everyone from Madhuri Dixit who would have known her casually through awards shows and so on although they never worked together, to Sunny Deol and Anupam Kher who worked closely with her.
It is also so respectful and professional, and yet personal. As I said, she was a deeply private person who let few people in to the real Sridevi. And yet simply knowing the professional Sridevi was still enough to create a sense of loss.
Sunny Deol: The moment the camera rolled SHREE would light up the floor ……….. We did a few films together and I enjoyed working with her though we rarely spoke. I am going to miss her. Her fans r going to miss her the world is going to miss her.
Rishi Kapoor: Woken up to this tragic news. Absolute shock. Sad. Heartfelt condolences to Boney and their two daughters!
Even those who didn’t know her at all are tweeting. And not tweeting like with Shashi, a respectful acknowledgement of the loss to the entire industry, but a personal sense of loss. A loss as an audience member, as a “fan”.
Alia Bhatt: Nothing makes sense. I have no words.. just completely shocked. RIP Sri Devi. My icon forever. Love you.
Twinkle Khanna: Chandni now and forever… too young and terribly heartbreaking #RIPSridevi
And of course Aamir put it best, this odd sensation of being yourself a movie star and yet experiencing the death of another star not as a personal loss, or a loss of a colleague, but as a fan.
Aamir Khan: I am disturbed and saddened by the untimely and tragic passing away of Srideviji. I have always been a huge fan of her work. Equally I have always been an admirer of the grace and dignity with which she conducted herself. My heartfelt condolences to everyone in the family. I join all the millions of her fans mourning her demise. Ma’am, we will always remember you with love and respect. a.
One final tweet which I think put it best. Ekta Kapoor, who surely must have known Sridevi her whole life, considering how often her father and Sridevi worked together in her childhood. Ekta keeps her tribute simple and respectful.
Ekta Kapoor: The strongest women have the weakest hearts sometimes…#RIPSrideviji.