Today’s Google Doodle, illustrated by Mumbai-based guest artist Bhumika Mukherjee, celebrates Indian actress Sridevi’s 60th birthday! Starring in nearly three hundred movies over the course of four decades, Sridevi made Bollywood’s sweeping dramas and comedies shine, oftentimes without a male counterpart in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Sridevi was born on this day in 1963 in present-day Tamil Nadu, India. She fell in love with movies as a child and started acting at four years old in the Tamil movie, Kandhan Karunai. Sridevi learned to speak multiple South Indian languages, which allowed her to break into India’s other film industries. Early in her career, she acted in a variety of genres and across multiple film industries, including Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam movies.
In 1976, Sridevi gained national recognition as the protagonist in K. Balachander’s Moondru Mudichu. After the film’s success, she and her co-stars became even more famous with a string of hit films like Guru and Sankarlal. Widely considered the star of Tamil cinema at the time, Sridevi’s on-screen charisma garnered attention from producers from the Hindi-speaking film industry as well.
After playing the lead role in the action comedy Himmatwala, Sridevi established herself as a national icon and box-office attraction in Bollywood. Over the next decade, Sridevi starred in hits like the romantic drama film Sadma and the comedy ChaalBaz. She remains one of the only Bollywood actresses to headline blockbuster movies without a male actor in an industry that was traditionally male-dominated.
Sridevi took a break from acting in the early 2000s before starring in television shows like Malini and Kaboom. She then joined the Asian Academy of Film & Television board of directors. In 2012, she announced her comeback with English Vinglish; the film marked her successful return as a leading lady in Bollywood after a long hiatus. The Indian government also honored her with the Padma Shri. In 2017, Sridevi starred in the crime thriller Mom as a rage-filled and protective mother, earning her the National Film Award for best actress.
Sridevi forever made her mark on the film industry by charting new avenues for women to take on leading roles in Indian cinema. She will be remembered as one of the greatest Indian actors of her time.