The husband and daughters of Bollywood legend Sridevi Kapoor were seen standing over her body as her funeral went underway in Mumbai, with thousands of heartbroken fans lining the streets following her shock death in a Dubai hotel last week.
The 54-year-old actress drowned in the bath in her hotelroom in Dubai, and after a short investigation local police ruled out foul play, allowing her remains to be returned to India.
Boney Kapoor and the couple’s daughters Jhanvi and Khushi were later seen riding along the casket on a truck while crying fans surrounded the funeral cortege.
Mourning: Sridevi Kapoor’s husband Boney and daughters Khushi and Janhvi were seen standing by her side before the funeral cortege began in Mumbai today
Final journey: Sridevi’s body is seen draped in red, gold and the Indian flag in the open casket up on public display, in this photograph issued by major Indian news agency and used in Indian media
In a statement, the Bollywood legend’s family said they had ‘laid to rest a beautiful soul who has gone too soon’
Bollywood star Sonam Kapoor, the actress’s niece, made a heartfelt plea tonight for the love to continue for Sridevi’s daughters.
She said: ‘The past few days have been trying times for us as a family. Today has been one of the hardest. We laid to rest a beautiful soul who is gone too soon.
‘She leaves behind a legacy that is unique. Her talent was undeniable. Her beauty unmatched and her ability to connect with the audience was legendary.
‘She had the same connect with her family as well. The one thing that helped us all get through the past few days was the amazing amount of support and love from everyone.
‘The outpouring of love is the memory that we would like the daughters Khusi and Janhvi to have of their mother, a woman who was loved unquestionably by everyone.
‘Let us all who loved Sri envelope her two little ones, her life, as she called them with as much or more love than we gave Sri so that they can live their lives ahead with a little less ache in their hearts.
‘Let us help them remember their mother fondly with that lovely twinkle in her eye and help them build a life and be what she had dreamt for them.’
Husband Boney Kapoor, center, stands beside the body of Indian actress Sridevi as the same is carried in a truck during her funeral in Mumbai, India
Fans have filled the street as the funeral cortege with Sridevi’s casket makes its way down the road in Mumbai
EXCLUSIVE: Film producer husband of tragic Bollywood star Sridevi who was found dead in her bath pays heartbreaking tribute to ‘my love, my friend, my partner’
The husband of Bollywood actress Sridevi, who drowned in a hotel bathtub here, tonight broke his silence to pay a heartbreaking tribute.
Boney Kapoor said he found it difficult to find the right words to describe his pain after India mourned her passing and her funeral took place with thousands turning out to pay their respects in Mumbai.
Mr Kapoor, 62, a film producer, who was married to the star for 21 years, said: ‘Losing a friend and mother of your two young daughters is a loss inexplicable in words.
‘…To me she was my love, my friend, mother to our girls, my partner.
‘To our daughters she was their everything…their life. She was the axis around which our family ran.
‘The curtains never come down on an actor’s life because they shone on the silver screen forever.
‘My only concern at this time is to protect my daughters and find a way to move forward without Sri.
‘She was our life, our strength and the reason we always smiled. We love her beyond measure.’
Mr Kapoor was in her hotel suite on Saturday evening when she failed to emerge from the bathroom. When he forced open the door, she had drowned.
Police have confirmed her death was accidental and sources in Dubai said he had been devastated and was ‘breaking down every ten minutes’ over the four days it took to clear formalities and fly her body back to Mumbai for today’s Hindu funeral service
After countless Bollywood stars and thousands of fans turned out at the funeral in Mumbai, he appealed for privacy.
He said:’ As we bid goodbye to my beloved wife and Kushi and Janhvi’s mama, I have a sincere request. Please respect our need to grieve privately.
‘If you need to talk of Sri, let it be of the special memories that connect each of you to her.
‘She was and is an actor that is irreplaceable. Love and respect her for that.’
His final message to his wife who died while he waited for her to finish a bath and join him for a romantic meal was: ‘Rest in peace my love. Our lives will never be the same again.’
By early Wednesday morning, fans had begun lining up along a security fence outside the private members club near Sridevi’s home where the body has been laid out before the funeral tonight.
Some carried roses while others held photos of the late screen icon as they queued patiently to pay their final respects at a condolence service in the western Indian city.
‘It’s a shock to believe that she is no more. We want to pay her one last visit today and thank her for all her wonderful performances,’ Nandini Rao, a 32-year-old teacher said.
One mourner, a man who gave his name only as Prashant, arrived at about 7am, 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.
Sridevi Kapoor, pictured with her husband Boney and their daughters Jhanvi and Khushi, was found dead in a bath in her room at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel in Dubai
Goodbye to a legend: Indian fans stand outside a private members club near the Bollywood legend’s Mumbai home where her body was been laid out ahead of her funeral
Fans of Bollywood actress Sridevi hold posters as they wait outside her residence to pay their last respects in Mumbai, India
Long wait: Queues began forming in the early hours of Wednesday after it became known where the Bollywood icon’s body would be laid out
Beloved: Mrs Kapoor had such legendary status that she would be referred to only by her first name in India
Packed: Traffic became completely blocked as fans tried to get in line in order to gain access to the members club and pay their respects to Sridevi
Drastic measures: Private security and police were called in to help control the massive crowds in Mumbai today
Crowd control: Indian police threaten fans with batons as they stand outside the house of the late Bollywood actress Sridevi Kapoor ahead of her funeral in Mumbai on Wednesday
A string of Mercedes and Audis ferried family members, Bollywood stars and VIPs in through another gate, at the Celebration Sports Club in the Andheri West area of Mumbai – the home of the Bollywood film industry.
Today Bollywood celebrities, dressed in white which is a Hindu tradition for mourning, were turning out at the Celebration Sports Club in Lokhandwala, Mumbai, for her funeral.
Her body was dressed in her favourite red and golden saree for her final journey and contained in a glass casket.
Police had to ‘lathi charge’ – use their batons – on the growing crowd, said to number more than 7,000, which included people who had travelled hundreds of miles to be there.
Several fans chanted prayers as Sridevi’s body was brought the short distance from her home to the club at 9am (3.30am GMT).
‘I’m an avid Sridevi fan. I loved her smiling personality. She had such a commanding presence in the Indian film industry. Her death was so sudden and I feel terrible,’ 45-year-old Kuldeep Singh said Sridevi’s body is due to leave the ground at 2pm to embark on its final journey.
She will be cremated at a private Hindu ceremony later on Wednesday.
Indian Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, was one of many in the Bollywood industry who arrived at the private members club on Wednesday morning to pay their last respects to the late actress Sridevi
Actress and politician Hema Malini, second from left, attends with her daughter Esha Deol, left, also an actress, and pictured right is actress Isha Koppikar
Indian Bollywood actors Kajol Devgn, Ajay Devgan and Tabbuu, far right, were also at the funeral today
Honouring: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, right, and Jaya Bachchan leave the members club, as other VIPs arrived
Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit along with her husband Sriram Nene arrives at the club near Sridevi’s Mumbai home
Saying goodbye: Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone is seen leaving having said a final farewell to her colleague
Legends’ farewell to a legend: Indian Bollywood actress Rekha and director Shekhar Kapur were also in attendance
Sridevi was considered to be one of the most influential Bollywood actresses of all time and her sudden death at the weekend sparked an outpouring of grief in India.
Tributes poured in from fans and fellow actors as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Birmingham-born Bollywood actress and rapper Hard Kaur, who worked in a TV advert with Sridevi last month, told MailOnline: ‘There will only ever be one of her kind.
‘There are actresses in Bollywood who tell directors that they can’t appear like this or that or wear this or that as they have to look “hot” all the time.
‘Sridevi didn’t mind playing any part and she once appeared in a movie as Charlie Chaplin. Her comic timing was brilliant.
‘She always lit up the screen and her dance moves were so special. Kids used to copy her. She inspired me as a child when I first saw her in movies when I was around seven as she had this incredible tough and equally sweet side to her.
‘Just like in music there can only be one Michael Jackson. In Bollywood there will only ever be one Sridevi.
‘I saw her a few months ago in a restaurant in Mumbai and I told her she was the original gangster actress and the original dynamite inspiration for those of us who went into Bollywood after her.
‘I’m so devastated at her death. We worked together on a noodles TV advert recently. ‘She was such an incredibly healthy and beautiful woman who carried herself with great natural ease. ‘
The star of hit films such as ‘Chandi’ and ‘Mr India’ drowned in her bathtub after losing consciousness late Saturday in a hotel in Dubai, where she was attending a wedding.
Police in the emirate said a post-mortem examination found that she had drowned after losing consciousness. On Tuesday they ruled out any foul play and released the body to Sridevi’s family.
Her husband, filmmaker Boney Kapoor, who helped Dubai police as a witness was ‘breaking down every 10 minutes and repeatedly declaring ‘I can’t believe she has gone.’
A senior Bollywood source, who spoke with him, added: ‘The hysterical and wrongful belief that his wife was murdered has really hurt him and his family.
‘I had known Boney and Sridevi for many years and their marriage was very close and very stable. With their daughters they were the happiest family you could meet.’
Dedication: Some fans waiting outside said they had travelled for several hundred miles in order to attend
Paying their respects: A fan of Bollywood actress Sridevi Kapoor holds flowers as he waits in the queue
Solemn wait: When news broke that Sridevi’s body was being flown back to Mumbai from Dubai, fans began travelling to the city to pay their respects
The claim that Sridevi, who was a Bollywood icon, was murdered was made by Subramanian Swamy, leader of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party, but police are adamant that her death was accidental.
Mr Kapoor, 62, met with Dubai police as a witness and throughout his interview was ‘genuinely devastated’ by his wife’s death in her hotel bathroom while he waited for on Saturday evening.
TIMELINE OF SRIDEVI’S CAREER
1969 – Sridevi starred in her first film Thunaivan at the age of just four
1976 – She starred in her first adult role aged 13 in south Indian film Moondru Mudichu
1979 – The actress starred in her first Hindi film, Solva Sawan
1983 – She shot to stardom with her role in comedy drama Himmatwala
1984 to 1997 – Sridevi continued starring in a number of commercially successful films, including Chandni
2004 – She starred on TV sitcom Malini Iyer
2012 – Sridevi launched her comeback with hit film English Vinglish
2017 – Her last film to be released was thriller Mom
An official who met with him before he flew back to Mumbai last night with his wife’s body told MailOnline ‘There is no question at all that her death was anything but an accident.
‘It is a terrible tragedy for all concerned especially for Mr Kapoor. When I met with him and his family, it was a very sad scene. One really must feel for him.
‘These accidents do occur and in fact I read this morning that there are thousands of death each year in bathrooms and one for every day in the US.
‘There was never any controversy on why it too three days to release her body. It takes that time for formalities to be carried out.’
Mr Kapoor’s journey back to India and then a ‘surprise’ return to Dubai within a few days to meet with his wife raised questions.
But Mailonline can reveal he told investigators that he had gone back to India to speak at a meeting which India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi also addressed along with industrialists in Uttar Pradesh.
They spoke at a conference to raise investment in the Indian state.
On Saturday morning he was seen passing back, looking cheerful, through Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji airport.
He gave a ‘namaste’ greeting after being met by an official from Pranaam VIP guest services brandishing his name on a welcome card .
He was then led through immigration and to his business class flight to Dubai.
He was embarking on a trip back to Dubai to surprise his wife with a romantic dinner.
But last night he arrived back in Mumbai and broke down in tears again in the arms of his brother Anil, star of the Oscar winning movie Slumdog Millionaire.
The 54-year-old attended the wedding with her husband and their youngest daughter Khushi (pictured left with her mother, and Sridevi alone, right)
Sridevi (far right with husband Boney) had been in Dubai for her nephew Mohit Marwaha’s (third from left) wedding. Daughter Khushi pictured far left
Sridevi was filmed dancing with and embracing husband Boney Kapoor during her nephew’s wedding at the weekend, days before she was found dead in her hotel bathtub
Born as Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapa in the state of Tamil Nadu, Sridevi began acting in south Indian cinema at the age of four.
She then moved into Bollywood, where she rocketed to stardom by way of the 1983 film Himmatwala.
The belle époque of her career was the 1980s and 1990s, during which her releases included the superhero movie Mr India, the separated-at-birth comedy ChaalBaaz, the revenge fantasy Nagina and the romantic triangle drama Tohfa.
Her incredible film career saw her work in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, and in 2013 she was fêted with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest of the civilian honours granted by the Government Of India.
Sridevi was in her heyday a massive box office draw, in addition to which she won five Filmfare Awards, the Hindi movie industry’s answer to the Oscars.
After marrying Boney Kapoor in 1996, Sridevi got another Filmfare nod for her performance in 1997’s Judaai before withdrawing from the movies.
A 15-year big screen hiatus followed, during which she and Boney brought up two daughters – Jhanvi, 20, and Khushi, 17.
The time eventually came when Sridevi itched to return to films, and she launched her comeback with the 2012 hit English Vinglish, which India submitted unsuccessfully to the Oscars.
Her last film release was the 2017 thriller Mom, which was reported to be her 300th motion picture, and of which the Times Of India rhapsodized that ‘Sri demonstrates why she is the high-priestess of desi cinema.’