Bollywood’s iconic actress Sridevi’s death in February came as a shock, not just to her family but also to her fans. Many of her fans paid her tribute in their own way. Three Pune-based die-hard fans of the actress got the exterior of their car designed with different moods of Sridevi, from her films. Paridhi Bhati, Bhavana Varma and Tonu Sojatia, who are good friends, even met Sridevi’s husband Boney Kapoor and elder daughter Janhvi at their Mumbai residence and showed them the car.
“We were participating in a women’s car rally, as a team called Flying BhaToPa, which was from Pune to Goa. As part of the ride, we had to decorate our car with a theme. And it also had to give out a social message. We thought of using it as an opportunity to pay tribute to Sridevi ji since we were deeply moved by her death,” says Bhati.
Sojatia and Varma add that they wanted to put up unique and rare pictures of the actress for which they researched a lot. “We watched her interviews and films,” says Bhati. To this Sojatia adds, “We wanted to capture different moods of her, including love, anger, dance and innocence. We have captured the different roles she has portrayed on screen, which depicts these moods the best.”
So the car has stills from Lamhe, Nakabandi, Sadma and a few Telugu and Tamil films. But it’s not just the stills that makes the art work interesting. Bhati, Varma and Sojatia have shared an important message about rape from Sridevi’s last hit film Mom. “We have also put up a dialogue from Mom which says, ‘Iss desh me rape to kar sakte hai, lekin rapist ko thappad nahi maar sakte — Stop blaming the victim. NO means NO’. We have pasted the message on the bonnet of the car. The reason we chose a dialogue from Mom is because rape is a burning issue and the message was apt for such a situation,” says Sojatia, who works with city-based National Film Archive of India (NFAI).
The car also has a line that says, ‘We miss you Sridevi’.
The girls say that it was completely a team effort and it took them a month to work on the car. “We took time to work on the car. We designed the multi-hued vinyl-prints, which are long-lasting,” says Bhati, who is an IT professional.
The biggest challenge they say was finding time to work together because of their hectic professional lives. “We all work in different fields and it was a task to make time for this but we still managed to achieve it,” says Bhati.
Sojatia adds, “When I shared with my family that we were planning to do this, they supported me. Otherwise, they may not have liked me to travel from Pune to Goa. But because of their personal connection with the actress, they supported me.”
Each one of them has personal memories of the actress. Bhati says that she loves the bond the veteran actress shared with her daughter Janhvi. “Srideviji played such a supportive role in personal life. I was following her on Instagram and other social media platforms. I could see that she made it a point to be present wherever Janhvi was shooting. I could connect with that because I share similar bond with my mother,” she adds.
The girls met Sridevi’s family on April 20 because they wanted the family to see the car. “I have completed my post-graduation from Asian Academy of Film & Television (AAFT), which is run by Sandeep Marwah, who is related to the Kapoor family. When I shared the idea with Sandeep sir, he was pretty excited and impressed with the idea. He connected us with them,” Sojatia adds.
The girls say that both Boney and Janhvi got emotional. “Janhvi did not talk much because it was difficult for her,” says Sojatia, to which Bhati adds, “But Boneyji became very emotional and he spoke at length about Srideviji. The room we were sitting had paintings of Sridevi. We got to know a lot about her and her work.”
The girls are touched by Boney’s gesture to come all the way to the car to see them off. “It was not needed; nobody does such things for fans but he did,” Bhati says.