Thousands of heartbroken fans and Bollywood actors paid their last respects to late superstar Sridevi Kapoor Wednesday, following her shock death from accidental drowning in a Dubai hotel bathtub at age 54.
Huge crowds of mourners -- some carrying roses, others holding photos of the late actress -- lined Mumbai's streets to see their beloved idol embark on her last journey.
At one point police had to use batons to force back those unable to get into the hall where her body was laid out, wrapped in the Indian flag. After a public service, Sridevi's flower-bedecked funeral cortege made its way slowly to a crematorium where her family said their final goodbyes. She was cremated with full state honours at a private Hindu ceremony late in the afternoon after her husband, film producer Boney Kapoor, performed the last rites.
A large number of Bollywood stars were among the mourners at the Celebration Sports Club in the Andheri West area of Mumbai -- the home of the Hindi film industry.
Several lakhs turned up to join a long procession -- among the largest in recent times -- to mark the final journey of actress Sridevi which started near her residence to a crematorium in Vile Parle. A tall, open truck, fully decorated with white flowers carried her body which was first draped in the national tricolour and then loaded in a glass casket.
Tearful fans chanted prayers as Sridevi's body was brought the short distance from her home to the club at 9am. Heavy security was in force along the streets to control the crowds, which included people who had travelled hundreds of kilometres to be there.
In terms of sheer numbers, Sridevi's funeral is estimated to have attracted the highest number of mourners, ranking on par with the previous biggest funeral processions of the legendary singer Mohammed Rafi (July 1980: around a million mourners), and superstar Rajesh Khanna (July 2012: a little less than a million mourners), according to Hindustan Times.
Among the early callers seen were Rekha, Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, Arbaaz Khan, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Akshaye Khanna, Tabu, Farah Khan, Nitin Mukesh, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Vidya Balan, Sushmita Sen, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Madhur Bhandarkar, Deepika Padukone, Sanjay Leela Bhandsali, Jackie Shroff, Farhan Akhtar, Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan, John Abraham, Ajay Devgn, Kajol, and Anupam Kher, among others.
Tributes poured in from fans and fellow actors as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The star of hit films such as “Chandni” and “Mr. India” drowned in her bathtub after losing consciousness late Saturday in a hotel in Dubai, where she was attending a wedding. Police in the emirate said a post-mortem examination found that she had drowned after losing consciousness. On Tuesday they ruled out any foul play and released the body to Sridevi's family.
Sridevi, born Shree Amma Yanger Ayappan in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, appeared in around 300 films and was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award, for services to the movie industry. She made her acting debut at the age of four and her career spanned more than four decades. Sridevi worked in India's regional Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam-language films before making her Bollywood debut in 1979.She became a national sensation with a string of blockbuster films including “Himmatwala” and “Tohfa”.
Sridevi took a 15-year break from the silver screen after marrying Kapoor but returned in the 2012 hit comedy-drama “English Vinglish”. Her most recent film was last year's “Mom”.
Source: Hindustan Times