NEW DELHI – Bollywood celebrities and fans on Wednesday bid a tearful farewell to actress Sridevi, who died on Saturday in Dubai.
The actor was honoured with a gun salute and the body draped in the national flag.
Hundreds of police personnel kept a watch as crowds of fans gathered to pay their last respects to the 54-year-old star, who was considered India’s first film superstar in the male-dominated industry.
Her body was brought to Mumbai on Tuesday night from Dubai in a plane belonging to Indian billionaire Anil Ambani.
It was kept wrapped in a red sari at the Celebration Sports Club near her residence in the Lokhandwala area of the city to allow people to pay their last respects.
Many top film celebrities, including Madhuri Dixit, Rani Mukerji, Karan Johor, Aishwarya Rai, Jaya Bachchan, Soha Ali Khan, Imtiaz Ali, Rekha and Arbaaz Khan were among the mourners.
“The love she had for me was so tremendous and intense that I feel somewhere I have lost a guiding light in my life,” said Mukerji.
Police struggled to control the crowds as the funeral procession reached the crematorium ground.
Sridevi died after accidentally drowning in the bathtub of her Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel room, Dubai authorities said after an autopsy on Sunday.
When her family announced her death on Saturday, it was reported that the actress died due to a cardiac arrest.
She had gone to the United Arab Emirates with her filmmaker husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi for a family wedding.
Boney had returned to Mumbai after the wedding but Sridevi stayed behind in Dubai to attend an auction of her paintings.
Later Boney decided to go back to Dubai to “surprise” his wife with a dinner date, according to reports in Dubai and Indian media.
Sridevi was born in Tamil Nadu and acted in south Indian cinema before entering Bollywood and achieving national stardom.
She acted in about 300 movies during a career spanning decades. – BERNAMA