Tale of two timeless Tamilian actresses

Vyjayanthimala and Sridevi, both the screen queens were born on the same day. And there are some striking similarities between the two divas

Vyjayanthimala (Left) and Sridevi (Right)
Vyjayanthimala (Left) and Sridevi (Right)

Subhash K Jha

Vyjanthimala and Sridevi. The two names instantly conjure up images of imperishable beauty and talent. Uncannily both the screen queens were born on the same day. Subhash K Jha examines some striking similarities between the two deathless divas.

1. Both Vyjayanthimala and Sridevi are Tamilians who started young. Sridevi did her first film when she was only 4. Vyjayanthimala started at age 13 when she played the leading lady. They soon gravitated to Hindi cinema, Vyjayanthimala with Bahaar in 1951 which was a remake of the Tamil hit Vaazhkai. Sridevi also made her Hindi debut in Solva Sawan with a remake of a Tamil film 16 Vayathinile.

2. Both the divas’ careers stretched from Chennai to Mumbai and they were guided strictly by a matriarchal figure. If it was Mummy for Sridevi it was Grandmummy for Vyjayanthimala.

3. They both quickly came to be recognized for their versatility and dancing prowess. For Vyjayanthimala it was Nagin in 1953. For Sridevi it was Nagina in 1985 which turn them into dancing queens of Bollywood. Both Nagin and Nagina were saanp-operas about the heroine’s close affinity to serpents.

4. Vyjayanthimala’s most iconic dance number hands-down is Hothon pe aisi baat main dabaa ke chali aayee in Jewel Thief. For Sridevi it was Hawa hawaai in Mr India. The two song-and-dance numbers separated by 20 years were elaborately choreographed songs of more than 8 minutes’ duration that set new standards for choreography in Hindi cinema.

5. Both Vyjayanthimala and Sridevi married at the peak of their career. Both Tamilian screen goddesses married Punjabi men. Vyjayanthimala never looked back after marriage. Sridevi returned to acting with English Vinglish and Mom before death snatched her away from us.

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