Entertainment desk, Feb 28: Bollywood icon Sridevi’s body flown back to India from Dubai in a private jet late last evening on Tuesday. Her mortal remains will be taken to the celebration sports club a short distance from her Lokhandwala residence in Mumbai to let family, friends and fans pay their last respect to the versatile actor. Sridevi, 54, who was in Dubai to attend a family wedding, was found unconscious in a bathtub in her hotel apartment by her film-maker husband Boney Kapoor on Saturday evening.
Dubai officials probing the death handed over the body to her family on Tuesday after completing the formalities.
In a statement, her family asked people to join them to pay respect to the remarkable actor, beloved wife and loving mother between 9.30 am to 12.30 pm at the club today (Wednesday).
Hundreds of fans had waited outside the Kapoor residence in Lokhandwala as the ambulance carrying Sridevi drove in from the airport with a police escort. She is celebrated for depicting strong female characters on screen and as the “first female superstar of India” in male superstar-dominated Bollywood.
It had taken Dubai authorities three days to complete the formalities. Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Suri later told NDTV that they had worked closely with the authorities to have the various processes completed as early as possible. Mr Suri, who was in touch with the family as they waited said the “the devastation and the grief was very visible. It is what you would expect”.
According to the forensic report, she died due to accidental drowning following loss of consciousness. “The case has now been closed,” the Dubai government’s media office later announced.
Boney Kapoor was in Dubai, where he was joined by actor Arjun Kapoor on Tuesday, who is his son from his first marriage. Mr Kapoor’s nephew Saurabh Malhotra waited outside the morgue and accompanied Sridevi’s body to the embalming centre.
Sridevi’s daughters Jhanvi, 20, and Khushi, 17 were in Mumbai, where the film fraternity has been pouring in since Sunday at the home of actor Anil Kapoor, Sridevi’s brother-in-law and her co-star in blockbuster hits including Mr India.
Sridevi, Boney Kapoor and their younger daughter Khushi had gone to Dubai to attend the wedding of Mr Kapoor’s nephew Mohit Marwah. Boney Kapoor returned to Mumbai with their daughter after the wedding on Tuesday, February 20, while Sridevi stayed back. Boney Kapoor returned to Dubai on Saturday to surprise his wife, reports said. The couple was to go out for dinner, but Sridevi collapsed in the bathroom while getting ready.
In a career spanned five decades – she started working in movies at age 4 – Sridevi acted in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam movies before scripting a soaring career in Bollywood. On her Twitter handle, Sridevi – who had last retweeted a tribute performance originally pictured on her less than 24 hours before her death – preferred to describe herself as “Actor-MOM-Housewife-Actor Again!”
Sridevi 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.