Outpouring of grief in India as one of the biggest names in Hindi cinema dies in Dubai

Sridevi Kapoor, a Bollywood superstar who broke the mould when it came to playing traditionally coy female roles, has died after suffering a heart attack in Dubai, her family said on Sunday.

Tributes soon flowed from figures ranging from the prime minister to fellow cinematic figures and fans following the death of the star at 54, reportedly while attending her nephew’s wedding late on Saturday night.

“I have no words. Condolences to everyone who loved Sridevi. A dark day. RIP”, tweeted actress Priyanka Chopra.

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.”

Through the 1980s and 1990s she charmed audiences in female-centric films such as Chandni (Moonlight) and Lamhe (Moments), drawing praise for her comic timing in Chaalbaaz (Trickster) and Shekhar Kapur’s Mr India, playing feisty characters in contrast to the usually coy Bollywood heroine.

Born Shree Amma Yanger Ayappan, she made her acting debut at just four. She was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, for her services to the film industry.

Sridevi took a break from films soon after she married producer Boney Kapoor in 1996. She made a successful return to the big screen 15 years later in Gauri Shinde’s English Vinglish (2012), playing a housewife taking English-language lessons. Her last screen appearance was in Mom (2017), as a mother avenging her daughter’s rape.

One of Bollywood’s leading actors, Akshay Kumar, expressed his shock at the “untimely demise”. He tweeted: “A dream for many, had the good fortune of sharing screen space with her long ago and witnessed her continued grace over the years.”

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar said: “We all grew up watching her and suddenly to hear that she is no longer with us is hard to digest.”