Published On: Sun, Feb 25th, 2018

First female Bollywood superstar dies aged 54

One of India’s most famous actresses has died, aged 54.

Sridevi, who was known only by a single name, was described as the first female superstar in the country’s male-dominated Bollywood industry.

She died on Saturday in Dubai after suffering a heart attack, her brother-in-law Sanjay Kapoor told the Indian Express.

Her most famous roles included playing a reporter in Mr India and in Chandni, when she played a woman choosing between two suitors.

In Lamhe, in 1991, she played dual roles of a woman and her daughter.

Sridevi (L) with her husband Boney Kapoor in 2015
Image: Sridevi (L) with her husband Boney Kapoor in 2015

Much of her appeal was that she appeared in films in a wide variety of Indian languages, having been born into a Tamil/Telugu family in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Born Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan, she started in the industry at the age of four and worked throughout her childhood, playing her first adult Bollywood role at the age of 13.

She won five Filmfare Awards, and was nominated 10 times in the Indian equivalent to the Oscars.

In 2013, she was awarded the Padma Shri by the Indian government, the fourth highest civilian honour.

In the same year, she was voted India’s Greatest Actress in 100 Years, in a national poll to celebrate a centenary of Indian cinema.

She was married twice; to fellow actor Mithun Chakraborty for three years in the 1980s and latterly, to film producer Boney Kapoor.

She stopped acting after her second marriage but made a well-received comeback in 2012 with English Vinglish, about a woman learning English.

It is understood she was at a wedding with her husband and daughter at the time of her death.

Fans and fellow Bollywood stars left tributes to the actress on Twitter and other social media.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Saddened by the untimely demise of noted actor Sridevi.

“She was a veteran of the film industry, whose long career included diverse roles and memorable performances. My thoughts are with her family and admirers in this hour of grief. May her soul rest in peace.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Really enjoyed meeting Bollywood icon Sri Devi on my recent trip to India. So sad to hear the news of the death of such a terrifically talented actress, performer and producer.”

Actress and ex-Big Brother contestant Shilpa Shetty said: “I’m in a state of shock, can’t get over this heartbreaking news.Such a beautiful soul, may you rest in peace Sri ji . Will miss u terribly.”

Former India international cricketer Sachin Tendulkar expressed his condolences.

He said: “We all grew up watching her and suddenly to hear that she is no longer with us, it’s hard to digest.”

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar said: “Shocked beyond words to hear about the sad and untimely demise of #Sridevi. A dream for many, had the good fortune of sharing screen space with her long ago and witnessed her continued grace over the years. Thoughts and prayers with the family. RIP.”

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Sridevi’s death was confirmed by her brother-in-law Sanjay Kapoor, who told the Indian Express newspaper that she died from cardiac arrest in Dubai.

The family was in the Gulf city to attend a wedding, and videos appearing to show her dancing at the event were widely circulated online.

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