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Sridevi funeral: Thousands gather at Mumbai’s Celebration Sports Club to pay last respects

Thousands of fans, family members and Bollywood colleagues gathered at Mumbai’s Celebration Sports Club to pay final respects to star Sridevi, who died suddenly on Saturday.

bollywood Updated: Feb 28, 2018 13:11 IST
Associated Press
Sridevi,Sridevi Funeral,Sridevi Memorial
A fan of Bollywood star Sridevi holds a flower as he waits to offer his condolences outside a makeshift memorial in Mumbai.(REUTERS)

Thousands of grieving fans gathered in Mumbai on Wednesday to pay respects to Sridevi, the iconic Bollywood star who 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 billionaire Anil Ambani.

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

Fans wait to offer their condolences to Sridevi’s family outside a makeshift memorial in Mumbai. (REUTERS)

Read LIVE updates from Sridevi’s memorial service and funeral here.

One mourner, a man who gave his name only as Prashant, arrived at about 7 am, 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, grief clearly visible on his face.

A fan of Bollywood star Sridevi holds flowers and waits in queue to pay respect outside her residence in Mumbai, India. (AP)

Sridevi’s funeral takes place later Wednesday. Her body will be cremated according to Hindu religious customs.

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

Condolences have poured in since the death of the star who redefined the importance of the female lead in India’s largely male-dominated film industry.

A fan of Sridevi reacts as waits to offer his condolences outside a makeshift memorial in Mumbai. (REUTERS)

Sridevi, who used only one name onscreen, began her film career as a child actor and went on to star in regional films in southern India before making her Bollywood debut in the late 1970s.

By the late 1980s, she was a name to reckon with in mainstream Hindi-language films and was able to command top billing and dominate screen space in a film industry in which the heroine’s role was largely relegated to a few songs and a handful of romantic scenes as the leading man’s love interest.

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First Published: Feb 28, 2018 13:09 IST