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Why rumours surrounding Sridevi’s death are equally sad, shocking and untimely

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    Mumbai, Feb 26: Legendary actress and Bollywood's first female superstar Sridevi died too early, leaving her family, friends and fans utterly sad and shocked. The much-loved actress was only 54. The Padma Shri-winning actress died in Dubai on late Saturday evening. Reports say she had a massive cardiac arrest. Her body is yet to be brought to Mumbai for the last rites. With all these details, we actually know very little about her death. Her family, doctors and officials are yet to issue an official statement about her sudden demise.

    However, that has not stopped rumour mongers from coming up with their own bizarre and outlandish theories about the death of the superstar, who has acted in several memorable south Indian and Bollywood films. The fact that such a talented and beautiful person has died an untimely death, without ever hinting that she was suffering from any malignant disease, left the entire nation disturbed. But does that give us the freedom to make speculations and spread rumours? Don't forget she has a family--husband - producer Boney Kapoor, and two daughters, Jhanvi and Khushi.

    Sridevi

    Her family and friends are mourning Sridevi's death. To come up with insensitive and unverified conjectures about the death of the actress (or for that matter of anyone's) showcased the ugly side of our voyeuristic culture. If a few are blaming crash diets and beauty-enhancement surgeries, among others, for the death of Mr India actress, others have suggested that there is an element of "mystery" surrounding her demise.

    According to a WhatsApp message by one Piyali Ganguly, the actress died because she was forced to go under the knife on several occasions to live up to the "beauty standards" set by the showbiz industry. Ganguly, who claims that she had met Sridevi five years ago, in her viral WhatsApp message, wrote that all these surgeries took a toll on the actress' health resulting in her sudden death.

    Ganguly added that Sridevi was always under immense pressure to keep her weight down, have a wrinkle-free face, and do everything possible to hide her age. Ganguly described Sridevi as a "clothes horse" who did not trust herself in her own beauty.

    The viral WhatsApp message was immediately lapped up by social media users. "Untimely death of supremely talented actor #Sridevi is saddens me. Wonder if it had anything to do with her crash diets plus various invasive treatments for size zero figure & regaining youthful looks," tweeted feminist and writer Madhu Kishwar.

    "#Sridevi underwent laser skin surgery, silicon breast correction, botox, face lifts, body tucks & several facial corrections. She may have looked young, but question is did she put her body through more than what it can handle? Respect nature's gift - respect Ur body #RIPSridevi," tweeted another netizen, along with posting two different pictures of Sridevi to suggest that the actress underwent beauty-related surgeries.

    All these 'blabbermouths' gave their own versions regarding Sridevi's death without ever verifying whether all these are true or not. Because till date, Sridevi or any of her family members and friends had never said that she underwent any surgery to make her look young and beautiful. Even if all the suspicions raised by the rumour mongers about Sridevi's beauty secrets are true, then why did not they shout from the rooftops earlier like they are doing now? At least, they could have saved the actress' life. Isn't it? Moreover, cardiac arrest can happen to anyone. Sridevi was also a normal person. It was just bad luck that she died suddenly.

    For the rumour mongers, Sridevi was a commodity--an actress--whose performances they bought at the ticket counters. So they feel they indirectly own her and thus can malign and criticise the actress when she is dead and can't even defend herself. It is this very 'culture of consumerism' which forces actors and models to look literally like a Barbie doll with perfect height, eyes, nose, figure, skin and hair texture.

    It is not that all agree with the assumptions spread by rumour mongers, unfortunately mostly women, who in the name of attacking patriarchy, ended up degrading an actress par excellence and a feminist icon.

    Some social media users raised question over Sridevi's sudden death on the premise that the authorities in Dubai had conducted an autopsy. "Like millions of her fans, I want to know how could she die so suddenly? How come a fit person collapse just like that? Why didn't the hotel staff arrange for a doctor when she didn't come out of her room for two days? Wasn't the hotel staff trained in CPR, why wasn't it applied?" wrote Soumyadipta.

    In fact, conducting an autopsy of a deceased person who is from a different country, especially in a big case, is a routine practice. So to indicate that there is an element of suspicion in her death is again mischievous and unthoughtful.

    According to Khaleej Times, Sridevi fainted in her hotel bathroom and was rushed to Rashid Hospital in Dubai, UAE. The doctors at the hospital failed to revive her. In order to give some rest to the rumours, the Consulate General of India, Dubai too tweeted.

    While the sudden demise of Sridevi, who is considered to be one of the finest actresses of our times, is unbelievable, the speculations surrounding her demise are utterly insensible, derogatory and hurtful. Time for rumour mongers to "shut up" for a while, after all, the nation is mourning the death of a diva and an icon. RIP, Sridevi.

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