Deepanjana Pal at The Atlantic:
When Sridevi rose to prominence in the Hindi film industry, Bollywood, in the 1980s, it was at its tawdriest. The auteurs had left the building and a new, intensely commercial Hindi cinema had taken root. Appealing to the lowest common denominator became the industry mantra as more theaters cropped up around India and films became more profitable. Heroines were mostly cast for their sex appeal and paid much less than male counterparts. Their contributions were usually limited to romantic song sequences and weeping piteously when grabbed by the villain. Actresses would regularly be slapped and raped onscreen and groped offscreen.
Out of this emerged Sridevi, shining brighter than the hundreds of rhinestones and diamantes on her (sometimes) terrible outfits. Against all odds, she became the first modern, female superstar Bollywood has known and would remain one of its favorite actors over five decades.
On February 24, at age 54, Sridevi was found dead in her Dubai hotel apartment bathtub. According to the forensic report, she drowned accidentally. This summer, her daughter’s debut film will be released.