Sridevi’s funeral: Police baffled as fans throng in large numbers
Thousands of grieving fans from all over the country attended the funeral of India’s first female superstar Sridevi on Wednesday. The police made traffic and security arrangements, expecting not more than 3,000 people to attend the last rites of the 54-year-old actor, who died of drowning after falling unconscious in Dubai hotel on Saturday. After a delay of three days, her body was flown from Dubai on Tuesday.
“We had expected around 2,000-3,000 people to attend the last rites of Sridevi, we didn’t expect so many people will turn up,” said a police official. As many as 3,200 personnel from various security agencies were deployed on the funeral procession route starting from the actor’s residence at Lokhandwala in Andheri to a crematorium in Vile Parle. There were instances when the crowds turned unruly and the police had to resort to lathi charge to control them.
The actor’s fans came from different parts of the country. Sridevi’s body was brought from her home to the Celebration Sports Club in Lokhandwala for fans and celebrities to pay their final respects. Her body was draped in a Kanjeevaram red-and-gold saree. People had to wait for at least 50 minutes before paying their last respects to Sridevi at the cub, which was, to the dismay of fan, shut at 12.30pm
Many fans climbed trees, skywalks, terraces and walls to watch the procession. Among them were members of the queer community, who considered her an icon. Some star-gazers were disappointed as when they were not allowed to get closer to the body. Holding a bouquet and a newspaper clipping, Santacruz resident Shekhar Shetty said, “We have been waiting here for more than three hours, but we are now asked to leave even without paying our last respects. They can’t ask us to leave. She was a famous actress from the south,” said Shetty.
Jamuna Chakraborty, who played the role of a florist in the movie Meri Biwi ka Jawaab Nahi starring Sridevi and Akshay Kumar, was in the crowd, recollecting the actor’s charming personality on the set. “Though she was selective in speaking to people, she would always enquire about her co-workers and ask them to be happy and live life to the fullest,” said Chakraborty.
Rahat Shaikh, resident of Lokhandwala, had waited for three hours for darshan, but was upset after fans were asked to leave the sports club.
Some fans were left fuming because they could not get close to the hearse. Sridevi’s daughters Janhvi and Khushi, husband Boney Kapoor, brother-in-law Anil Kapoor, step son Arjun Kapoor, her nephew Mohit Marwah, whose wedding she had gone to attend in Dubai, and his father Sandeep Marwah were on the flower-draped hearse .
In a statement, after the funeral, the Kapoor family thanked everyone for the love.
“We ask that you respect the privacy of the family and allow us the space to grieve.”
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