A Web Series and A Book | Two Divine Apparitions of the Silver Screen

I am binge watching in my sick bed. Winter and all that. So, I saw Gautam Menon’s web series Queen with Ramya Krishnan in lead role. I also read ‘Sridevi’ non-stop dropping off around 2 am in the morning to wake up again at 4 am to continue and finished the book by 4 pm today in the evening forgetting about everything but the book.

But the web series was interesting and so was the book. But both didn’t do any justice to the two Divas – both an epitome of harnessing emotions with extreme discipline of character. I remember one dance piece which I loved to watch of the actress and politician Jayalalitha. She played the role of a soothsayer in the mythological flick ‘Kandhan Karunai.’

As for Sridevi, she is a walking talking celluloid, whose every move was measured to inner beat of life, joy, and happiness all rolled into one single slingshot. I truly admired the woman power that was blatant in both these Divas of exemplary strength of characters.

Here were two women whose presence on screen were very powerful. But as I was reading the book and watching the series, I saw such familiar points between the two personalities who transcended reel and impregnated real-life with their special magic that tinged with genuine human concern.

Both the women had a hard time growing into adulthood and their dreams were whimsical desire to be free. Jaya wanted to be a recluse earning brownie points with me and Sri want to be a bird that flies free of course, she captured my dreamscapes.

I am writing this raw review of the web series and book for a specific reason. Since the emotions that go into the understanding of the two personalities is vital in appreciating their strength and their vulnerabilities. Of the two women, I saw them as shy women who sought solitude even in a crowd.

I was very impressed with both, while Jaya loved books and Sri loved to contemplate on her character using an internal process that was uniquely hers. I loved them both for their strength of character to their profession. The difference between the two was that Jaya acted out of compulsion and Sri did her job because she loved it. In the process both lost their inner selves.

The beauty of women hurting inside yet emoting in a politically correct format in the public, is superlative to watch. I think that takes great strength of character. I believe the southern belles of South Indian celluloid where forced in the conservative setting and chained the actresses within the boundaries of being just a sidekick to the heroes.

Yet Jaya reluctantly and Sri enthusiastically delved into being a presence of great caliber one on the political arena using the actor persona and the other making her presence in the silver screen a supernova energy.

But I found both the actors to be in a state of great internal turmoil with their identities. Their best character traits were the fact how they adapted to the environment and raising up to the moment and excelling in it with glorious splendor.

Sometimes, when I am sick and can’t focus on any single thing, I keep the brain spinning with visuals from watching or reading which ever is available. Somehow both these ladies are very private and don’t wish to be thrown into the limelight. Yet limelight was following them relentlessly and judging them for what they stood for socially.

Let me explore ‘Queen’ and how the story was not really Jaya in full span view. Somehow, I felt that she was under played and the complexities of human emotions were overshadowed. But Ramya was wonderful and this was serious woman power not the exaggerated version of Sivagami. Here is the real woman of the world of illusion trying to figure her way out to not be manipulated by hawks of opportunists.

That part of the vulnerability of the character never really came through. I felt some of it was the hidden subtext to be drawn out through the mind of the audience. The sensitivity that I was super-imposing in my mind created the visuals through the viewing of the series.

In the case of the book on Sridevi, my expectation was not met, because I wanted much more than just listing of movies with dates and interview clipping and comments by close associates. Now I was thinking of how would Sridevi would have written her book?

I am sure it would have been one of the best funniest account and she would have role-played gloriously. Somehow, I feel that Sridevi’s biography was her illusion and mystery of her private life can never be completely understood. She will remain forever an enigma to her audience.

I often thought of actor’s interpretation of characters needs the actor to emote from within through individual’s process. If the actor is super sensitive, then harder is the process of internalizing the concept of the character for realistic representation and later getting out of it.

I loved them both as artists with Sri getting more leverage of personal preference. I had a flitting glimpse of the actress during my secondary grade. She had arrived to help her cousin with her make-up at my school and she was another relative for me. That way movie disenchants my vision of the actor and I am interested in the character and I forget the actor behind it.

So, I am fan of none of the actors in the cine field. I love to watch movies, these days I prefer to see it in the cable or online platforms. I am nervous about theaters and rather prefer the calm of home environment. But once I am all set to watch the movie then the few hours are totally lost in the illusion.

I don’t know why I am not a fan of any actor. I like some in some character and illusion lasts until the closing credits scroll by on the screen. Somehow, it is raining, and the sound of heavenly tears fills up the lone surrounding and my new year is approaching to the sound of being drenched in sorrow. Both loved their Moms and I loved mine too and could easily relate to their sentiments.

Here’s to new beginning and much advent of joyous experiences as we say our goodbyes to 2019!

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