Sea of mourners as Sridevi cortege winds through Mumbai

Wrapped in the tricolour, the body of Indian cinema icon Sridevi began its final journey on Wednesday with thousands of mourners jostling with each other to catch a glimpse of her cortege as it slowly made its way through the city to the Vile Parle crematorium.

By TT Bureau in Mumbai
  • Published 28.02.18
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Thousands throng the funeral route of Sridevi. PTI Picture

Mumbai, Feb 28 (Agencies): Wrapped in the tricolour, the body of Indian cinema icon Sridevi began its final journey on Wednesday with thousands of mourners jostling with each other to catch a glimpse of her cortege as it slowly made its way through the city to the Vile Parle crematorium.

Sridevi, Indian cinema's first woman superstar, was given a gun salute at the Celebration Sports Club, minutes away from her home in Green Acres Lokhandwala where her body was kept before leaving for its last journey.

Her filmmaker husband Boney Kapoor, stepson Arjun Kapoor and other family members were with the body as it left the building.

As crowds mobbed the vehicle—with some climbing on trees and clambering on gates to get a better look—Arjun Kapoor requested them with folded hands to let the funeral procession pass through.

Thousands of people walked along with the hearse as it left the venue for the crematorium, about seven kilometres away. There was a sea of people as far as the eye could see.

Earlier, a prayer was performed at the hall before taking the actor's body for the last rites. 

The white hearse had a giant photograph of the much loved actor edged with white flowers.

It was the theme of the day with white lilies, mogra and red roses also covering the hall where her body was kept.

With flowers in their hands and a prayer for their screen idol on their lips, thousands of fans filed past the body at the hall to pay their last respects.

Thousands of grieving fans had gathered in Mumbai since early morning to pay respects to Sridevi, 54, who had drowned accidentally in a Dubai hotel bathtub over the weekend.

Sridevi's body was flown home late Tuesday night in a private plane owned by Anil Ambani, a Mumbai industrialist and entertainment baron.

By early Wednesday morning, people had begun lining up along a security fence outside the private club near Sridevi's home where the body had been laid out. A string of Mercedes and Audis ferried family members, Bollywood stars and VIPs in through another gate, with squadrons of private guards ensuring things stayed under control.

One mourner, a man who gave his name only as Prashant, arrived at about 7 a.m., hours before anyone was to be allowed in.

"No matter how long I have to wait, I will wait," he said, clutching a small bouquet of flowers. "I'll wait until I'm able to pay my respects."

"I saw all her movies," he said.

Sridevi’s body was kept at the Celebration Sports Club, minutes away from her residence Green Acres in Lokhandwala.

A prayer was performed at the hall before taking the actor's body for the last rites.

A giant photograph of the much-loved actor edged with white flowers was put up outside the club.

Inside the hall, her extended family, including film-maker husband Boney Kapoor, actors Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor, Harshvardhan Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and Rhea Kapoor, stood in a corner, their eyes wet with tears.

Sridevi's daughters Jahnvi and Khushi were standing a little behind them.

The actor's mortal remains were draped in a red Kanjivaram sari with a bindi on her forehead.

Fashion designer Manish Malhotra broke down and was consoled by film-maker Karan Johar, who was also unable to control his grief.

Rani Mukerji sat near the body, and was consoling Sonam Kapoor, her niece.

Nearly 200 policemen were present at the venue to keep the crowd in check.

While the gates for the general public opened after 10am, fans from across the country started queuing up to pay their last respects to the Chandni star since 6am.

People came from as far as Karnataka and Chennai to catch the last glimpse of their screen idol.

Among the crowd was a group of fans from Karnataka waiting to pay their respects to the actor.

”We were there even at Anil Kapoor's bungalow earlier and will not leave Mumbai without seeing our idol,” said a fan waiting in the line.

Among the celebrities who paid their last respects to the actor were Jaya Bachchan, her daughter Shweta, daugher in law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Sonam Kapoor's friend Anand Ahuja, Madhuri Dixit Nene and her husband Sriram Nene.

Noted actors Jaya Prada and Hema Malini, Arbaaz Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Manish Paul, Tabu, Subhash Ghai, Neelima Azmi, along with her daughter Esha Deol, Sushmita Sen, politician Sanjay Nirupam also came to pay their respects.

Actor Ajay Devgn and wife Kajol, Tanisha, Imtiaz Ali, Sajid Khan, Vidya Balan along with husband Sidharth Roy Kapoor, Rekha, John Abraham, south star Chiranjeevi, Raveena Tandon, Shekhar Kapoor, Shamita Shetty, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Rajkummar Rao, Ramesh Sippy, Soha Ali Khan, Neha Dhupia, Angad Bedi, Kunal Khemu also came to offer their condolences.

By late afternoon her body began its journey from the club to the crematorium. The body was carried in a truck decorated with flowers and a giant poster of the actress.

Sridevi, 54, was in Dubai for a wedding in her extended family when she died Saturday. Investigators in Dubai closed their case Tuesday and handed the body to her family.

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