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Remembering Sridevi: A journey through the songs that made her a legend

India woke up this Sunday with the shocking news that legendary Indian actor Sridevi was no more. Her untimely death at 54 shocked the entire film industry, and of course, her admirers who range from those who watched her grow up in front of the screen, and younger ones who saw what the fuss was about after her comeback a few years ago.

The Mr India actor mesmerised her fans with her expressive eyes, and it wouldn’t be wrong to suggest that her professional career can be lived through some of the most iconic songs we have heard. While Sridevi made her debut as a child artist in Tamil film Thunaivan in 1969, and later went on to work in Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada films, we list her legacy in Bollywood in 10 songs.

‘Aye Zindagi Gale Lagaa Le’ – Sadma

Despite Kamal Hasaan tweeting that he would be haunted by the Sadma lullaby ‘Surmayee Ankhiyon Mein’, a beautiful song, ‘Aye Zindagi Gale Lagaa Le’ would remain the most popular with everyone involved at their creative best. Suresh Wadkar sounds incredibly beautiful and pensive, Gulzar pens another golden hit, and Ilayraaja is introduced to Bollywood. The song has been covered (more than) a few times since.

‘Naino Mein Sapna’ – Himmatwala

Against painted matkas and along with Jeetendra, Sridevi manages to mesmerise everyone with her vibrant performance in ‘Naino Mein Sapna’ that was a chartbuster in the 1980s.

‘Main Tera Dushman’ – Nagina

Lata Mangeshkar’s vivid singing and Sridevi’s iconic nagin dance remains a big attraction even now.

‘Mere Haathon Mein’ – Chandni

Yash Chopra’s beautiful vision for this song is executed flawlessly by Sridevi and makes all girls fall in love with her, and want to dance to this at every single wedding function.

‘Har Kisi Ko Nahi Milta’ – Janbaaz

This song was a true demonstration of how attractive Sridevi was in her prime. With just a microphone in her hand, she seductively sang ‘Har Kisi Ko Nahi Milta Yahan Pyaar Zindagi Mein’, in a red/white chiffon sari that made many skip a heartbeat. The song was recreated for the 2013 film Boss.

‘Hawa Hawaai’ – Mr India

A classic that has all the magic ingredients – a great composition by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, impressive singing by Kavita Krishnamurthy and a charismatic on-screen performance by ‘Bijlee Ki Rani’, Sri Devi. Here, she pulled off the greatest dance song of her career.

‘Kaate Nahi Kat Te’ – Mr India

With this song, Sridevi was hailed as the undisputed sensual diva of Bollywood. Romancing an invisible man here, Sridevi was gorgeous and graceful in the video of this song.

‘Na Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai’ – Chaalbaaz

Sridevi enthralled the audience in Chaalbaaz where she played a double role. ‘Na Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai’ illustrates the quirkiness of her character Anju. An added advantage of her charming performance is that it takes the attention from Sunny Deol who can’t dance to save his life!

‘Morni Baga Mein’ – Lamhe

Once again, Yash Chopra manages to extract the most from Sridevi, as she excels against the folksy beats set by Shiv-Hari in ‘Morni’ for a movie, that despite all its critical acclaim, was perhaps quite ahead of its time for the masses.

Navrai Majhi’ – English Vinglish

The last time Sridevi shook her leg was in her comeback film, English Vinglish. Just like AR Rahman’s brilliant Mom soundtrack would be a good last soundtrack for India’s ‘first female superstar, a beautiful song, composed by Amit Trivedi, ‘Navrai Majhi’ is a great last dance song for the queen of grace and poise.