NEW DELHI: Thousands of flower carrying, prayer chanting fans and Bollywood actors are pouring into Mumbai’s Celebration Sports Club to pay last respects to film icon Sridevi, who died in Dubai over the weekend. The funeral will be held at 3.30 pm. The sudden death of the 54-year-old had shaken the country. Her body was released by the Dubai police last evening after routine investigations and was flown into Mumbai by a private jet. Sridevi, who was initially thought to have died of a cardiac arrest, was found to have accidentally drowned in the hotel bathtub after she fell unconscious.
Long queues were seen outside Mumbai’s Celebration Sports Club. Nearly 200 policemen have been posted at the spot and a police band was deployed in honour of Sridevi, who was a recipient of the Padma Shree award. People have come from as far as Karnataka and Chennai to catch a last glimpse of the actor, who had ruled Bollywood and the southern cinema over her five-decade career.
Sridevi’s family, in a statement yesterday, had asked people to join them to pay respects to the “remarkable actor, beloved wife and loving mother” between 9.30 am to 12.30 pm. The Celebration Sports Club is a short distance from Sridevi’s Lokhandwala home.
Sridevi’s last journey would begin from the club to the crematorium, around 7 km away, near Pawan Hans, Vile Parle West at 2 pm. The last rites will take place at 3.30 pm onwards, the statement said.
Sridevi’s body had reached Mumbai last evening after a three-day wait, as Dubai authorities took time to complete the formalities.
Hundreds of fans had waited outside the Kapoor residence in Lokhandwala for her return. Since morning, the film fraternity from Bollywood and southerns superstars including Kamal Haasan, who worked with her had gathered to meet the family.
According to the forensic report, Sridevi died due to accidental drowning following loss of consciousness. “The case has now been closed,” the Dubai government’s media office later announced.
Sridevi, Boney Kapoor and their younger daughter Khushi had gone to Dubai to attend the wedding of Mr Kapoor’s nephew Mohit Marwah. After the wedding, while Sridevi stayed on in Dubai, Boney Kapoor had gone to Mumbai with their daughter. But he had returned to Dubai on Saturday to surprise his wife, reports said.
She collapsed in the bathroom of Dubai’s Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel on Saturday evening, while getting ready to go for dinner with her husband. A medical team had failed to revive her and she was declared dead at a hospital.
Making her debut on silver screen at the at age 4, Sridevi acted in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada movies before scripting a soaring career in Bollywood. She made a searing return to movies in 2012 after a 15-year break with the smash-hit “English Vinglish”, stunned fans with her performance as a villainous queen in a Tamil movie “Puli” and followed it up with the thriller “Mom”. She shot for a special appearance in superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming film – “Zero” – which releases in December.