The Judgment Never Ends…Even After Death

01 Mar 18

The end of February brought with it the end of a life that was an inspiration to many – Sridevi.  One of the few females in the South Asian film industry known to carry a movie on her own without a big name male costar, she was a trendsetter that created a path for many women to follow.  Fans and the industry mourned the untimely death and incredible loss to the South Asian film industry.   In the midst of condolences to the family and shock and disbelief at the unexpected death of a 54-year old actress just making her comeback, there were those that automatically started passing judgment on every aspect of her life and relationships.

When it was incorrectly reported that she died of cardiac arrest, there was the note by Piyali Ganguly commenting on her cause of death being the constant surgeries stemming from her desire to look young and thin because of a deep-rooted lack of love for herself.  The author with no medical background whatsoever took it upon herself to assume the cardiac arrest was because of this depression, lack of love for oneself, cosmetic surgeries, and other such jibberish.  The note also had an opinion on her relationship with her husband because he never stopped her from cosmetic surgeries because he liked the “arm-candy” on his arm and an opinion on her motherhood and the type of legacy she should have left behind for her daughters.  

This note reveals the truth about our quick-to-jump-to-conclusions society that is just waiting for something negative to happen so they can pass judgment.  The author, a woman herself didn’t waste any time after the news of her death came out to start judging another woman on the life she led.   Sridevi, a woman that gave up her career when it was at its peak and gave up wealth, fame, power, and celebrity status to raise her two daughters was judged for leaving behind a bad legacy for them.  There were comments made about her love for herself and fingers pointed at her husband on whether he loved her at all because news outlets incorrectly cited cardiac arrest as the cause of death which Piyali assumed was because of cosmetic surgeries.  I am wondering how the writer feels now that the death has been ruled an accidental drowning instead of cardiac arrest.  And as soon as news came out with a note that there were traces of alcohol in her blood, out came the judgments on her drinking and speculation that she had probably taken depression or anxiety pills with that because the two combined can be lethal.  

And then there was the heartless blog post in Times of India by Vinita Dawra Nangia.  In her article, she compares the passing of Mona Shourie Kapoor, Boney’s first wife, to that of Sridevi.   Pointing out the comparison that Mona passed two months before she could see son Arjun Kapoor’s debut film just as Sridevi passed before her daughter Jhanvi’s debut, she questions “Was Mona Kapoor’s regret over her broken home so vast that it hung around and took Sridevi in its wake? Was her hurt at being upstaged by Sridevi in her husband’s life so deep that it ensured Sridevi too didn’t say around long enough?”  A home that was broken by the mutual consent of two adults, Boney Kapoor and Mona Kapoor, was speculated to be the cause of death of a woman decades later as some sort of payback for breaking that home.  Sridevi and Boney Kapoor’s love story consistently reports that it was Boney that pursued Sridevi having fallen in love with her but it is Sridevi that is listed as having broken his home.  The author also questions why she left acting to begin with. “I could never understand how or why she gave up movies…. How could she? Sridevi was born for the silver screen!... All I know is that the gorgeous, vivacious, living Sridevi of the screen died a long time ago; today no doubt she looked beautiful still, but a beauty more of the porcelain variety.”  Sridevi is questioned for leaving acting to raise her children while other actresses are questioned for not leaving their career immediately following the birth of a child to raise that child.  There is no pleasing the judgment passing society on how your own life should be lived. 

In attempts to stay young, male superstars continue to take leading roles acting romantically alongside women old enough to be their daughters but that is not frowned upon as heavily as a woman having cosmetic surgery to defy the wrinkles of time.  Hair transplants and supplements to build spectacular bodies are common within the male superstars of this industry but that is not what is talked about when they pass.  If traces of alcohol are found at the time of death, no one provides commentary on how much alcohol must have been consumed and what other drugs must have been mixed with it.  When they leave their wives or change their religion to have the ability to keep multiple wives, no one talks about the regret of the women they hurt that must have hung around and taken them in its wake.  All that is talked about at the time of their passing is the tremendous success and legacy they have left behind.  However, the same is not true for women in our society – a society which is filled with double standards and judgments. 

Both these articles are written by women to pass judgment on another woman after her death, questioning every aspect of her life and making comments on how it should have been lived.  Our inability to stand by each other and quickness to point fingers is why we as women are still fighting for equality.   Sridevi was a superstar that led an extremely difficult life from the passing of her father to the tragedy that befell her mother and so much more.  She did the best with the cards she was dealt and was responsible for shattering a glass ceiling for women in the film industry in a decade where it was thought impossible to have a hit movie without a big name male superstar.   She should be remembered for all that she accomplished and her success instead of these judgments.  It is bad enough that we have to live with this judgment and double standard while we are alive, but at least let women die in peace without the finger pointing and judgmental thoughts.   As we approach International Women’s Day in the month of March, let us all vow to stand with each other regardless of the personal choices we make in our lives.  It is only by standing united that we will win the fight for equality worldwide.