The death of the legendary Sridevi came as a blow to all her friends, fans and co-stars. Nagarjuna, who worked with her in Telugu and Hindi films, says Sridevis death served up a lesson to him and he feels her contribution to the southern film industry must not be underestimated. “I still can’t believe she is gone. Life is so unpredictable. The suddenness of Sridevi’s death has made me appreciate my loved ones more. It’s important to live every moment positively and beautifully,” Nagarjuna said.

Nagarjuna, who was as shocked as the rest of the nation by Sridevi’s sudden demise in February at a Dubai hotel, says her contribution to cinema cannot be undermined. “She was equally important to Hindi and south cinema. Her contribution to cinema in the south — whether it was Malayalam, Telugu or Tamil, cannot be undermined. In Telugu, I can vouch for her professionalism and talent. Sridevi could do anything.”

He recalled how Sridevi worked with both him and his father. “You won’t believe this. But she played my father’s (the legendary Akkineni Nageswara Rao) daughter and then his romantic interest in several films. And then she was my co-star. No matter whom she was paired with, Sridevi was completely at home. It didn’t matter to her whether her leading man was my father or me.

“She was equally comfortable with both,” said Nagarjuna. He added: “Her level of professionalism was to be seen to be believed. When she did Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Govinda Govinda’ with me, she was full of fun and enjoyment in front of the camera. The minute it was switched off she went back into her shell. She was an astonishing artiste. I will miss her for as long as I work.”