A senior politician has claimed Bollywood superstar Sridevi Kapoor, who drowned in her bathtub in a Dubai hotel last week, was murdered.
Subramanian Swamy, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party – one of the two major political parties in India – questioned how Mrs Kapoor, who he claims never drank, had ended up with alcohol in her system.
The 54-year-old’s funeral is set to be held in Mumbai tomorrow, as her body is being flown back to India accompanied by her husband and step-son
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
The Dubai police closed the investigation on Tuesday, but Mr Swamy claims there are unanswered questions.
‘She never drank hard liquor, so how did it enter her system? Was she forcibly fed? What happened to the CCTV, we have not heard a word about that,’ he said according to Times of India.
‘If you ask my opinion I’ll tell you that I think it’s murder.’
Mr Swamy claimed there may have been links to an underworld criminal who he said has links to ‘cinema actresses’.
Yesterday, police interviewed her husband , Bollywood producer Boney Kapoor and also quizzed hotel staff at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers after deciding to ‘re-investigate’ the case in the wake of the coroner’s report.
Mr Kapoor was called in to Bur Dubai police station on Monday where officers took a statement before allowing him to return to his hotel room, Gulf News reports.
It had initially been reported that Sridevi had died of a heart attack, but the death certificate made no mention of cardiac arrest, instead putting cause of death to accidental drowning after losing consciousness.
However, following the interview, the case was closed and Mrs Kapoor’s body released to the family.
Bollywood producer Boney Kapoor was reportedly the last person to see Sridevi, 54, alive
Police are interviewing staff at the hotel, pictured, after deciding to ‘re-investigate’ the case in the wake of the coroner’s report
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
Mr Kapoor was ‘inconsolable’ and ‘crying like a baby’ when a friend of the couple reached the hotel shortly after Sridevi’s death.
Actor Adnan Siddiqui – who had attended the same wedding and also co-starred with Sridevi in her final film – was among the first few people to see Mr Kapoor after she was fond.
‘I got a call from a journalist at around 11 pm asking if the news about Sridevi’s death was true. I immediately called up Boney and rushed to him,’ Siddiqui told NDTV.
‘Boney was crying like a baby; he was inconsolable. I was with him until 5 am.
‘I can’t believe that I met her four days ago and now, she is no more’.
The family put out a statement later on Tuesday, saying: ‘Khushi, Janhvi, Boney Kapoor and the entire Kapoor and Ayyappan families are deeply bereaved and shocked with the untimely loss of Sridevi Kapoor.
‘Late Sridevi Kapoor passed away in Dubai, UAE, on Saturday February 24th.’
There have been conflicting reports as to how she was found, with some Indian newspapers reporting that Sridevi’s body was found by her husband. and others that she was discovered in the bath by hotel staff.
Kapoor was the last person to see her alive after he reportedly invited her out for dinner before she went to the bathroom to freshen up.
He had initially flown back to India after the wedding but returned to the Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel where she was staying on Saturday.
He arrived at the hotel around 5.30pm according to sources close to the family who spoke with local news outlet Khaleej Times.
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
The 54-year-old attended the wedding with her husband and their youngest daughter Khushi (pictured left with her mother, and Sridevi alone, right)
Fans erected a makeshift shrine to the actress outside her Mumbai home and gathered at the gates hoping to catch sight of her body being brought for cremation
When he arrived he found his wife asleep, so woke her up and spoke with her for around 15 minutes.
She then went to the bathroom to prepare for dinner with another 15 minutes elapsing before Boney went to check on her.
The source claims that he knocked on the door, but when he got no response he broke it down, only to discover her unconscious at the bottom of the bath.
He tried to revive her before calling for paramedics, who arrived around 9pm, when she was pronounced dead, the Times says.
Sridevi had attended the wedding alongside Boney and their youngest daughter Khushi, who posed for pictures with her mother shortly before she died.
Their eldest daughter, Jhanvi, was in Mumbai shooting for a film at the time as she prepared to make her own Bollywood debut.
Officers are still trying to piece together the events that led up to her death and establish who was with her when she died, Gulf News reported.
Her death was previously reported to be from cardiac arrest.
The case has now been passed to prosecutors for standard legal checks before an order to hand the body over to her relatives can be made.
The remains were due to be flown back to Mumbai on Monday though they remained in Dubai overnight as the checks were carried out.
Hundreds of fans had gathered outside her Mumbai home hoping to catch a final glimpse of her casket as it is expected to arrive back in the country.
Sridevi lost consciousness before drowning and had traces of alcohol in her system at the time she died, the report says
Bollywood stars filed into the home of her brother-in-law Anil Kapoor to pay their respects on Monday. Among them were director Farha Khan (left) and choreographer Saroj Khan (right)
Amar Singh (left), the minister for Uttar Pradesh, was among those seen arriving at the home alongside actor Farhan Akhtar (right)
‘We want to see her one last time,’ said 48-year-old Laxmi Subbaramaiah outside Sridevi’s house in the Andheri area of Mumbai – the heartland of Bollywood film.
‘All of my family members are big fans and we cried when we heard the news. We will wait here until her body comes back,’ he said.
Vishal More, 23, said he had travelled seven hours from Jalgaon district, around 400 kilometres away from Mumbai, to bid farewell to his favourite actress.
‘I’ve been waiting all morning to catch a last glimpse of Sridevi. I have watched all of her movies. She is such an inspiration,’ he said.
Sridevi’s death has prompted an outpouring of grief in India from fans and fellow actors as well as condolences from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
‘I have always been a huge fan of her work. Equally I have been an admirer of the grace and dignity with which she conducted herself,’ actor Aamir Khan wrote on Twitter.
‘I join all the millions of her fans in mourning her demise. Ma’am we will always remember you with love and respect,’ he added.
Fellow actor Ranveer Singh tweeted that he was ‘shocked and saddened to hear about the untimely demise of one of Hindi cinema’s greatest superstars’.
Chandrashekhar Narvekar, a Bollywood director more commonly known as N. Chandra (left), was joined by actress Sarika Hassan and her daughters Shruti and Akshara (together right)
Saiyami Kher was seen going into Anil Kapoor’s Mumbai mansion alongside actress Madhuri Dixit and her husband (right), who also bid her a final farewell
Actress and politician Jayaprada (left) and actress Ameesha Patel (right) also arrived at the property on Monday
Actress Tabbu (left) and director Karan Johar (right) paid their respects in Mumbai on Monday
Actress Alia Bhatt posted on Twitter: ‘Nothing makes sense. I have no words.. just completely shocked. RIP Sri Devi. My icon forever. Love you.’
Sridevi’s fellow Bollywood stars were joined by celebrities from around the world in paying tribute to her after her death was announced.
Priyanka Chopra was among the first to pay tribute to the icon, writing on Twitter: ‘I have no words. Condolences to everyone who loved #Sridevi. A dark day . RIP’.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi also paid tribute to the star, saying he was ‘saddened by the untimely demise’
Following the news of her death, Prime Minister Modi said in a statement: ‘Saddened by the untimely demise of noted actor Sridevi.
‘She was a veteran of the film industry, whose long career included diverse roles and memorable performances.
‘My thoughts are with her family and admirers in this hour of grief. May her soul rest in peace.’
Actor Aamir Khan also tweeted: ‘I am deeply disturbed and saddened by the untimely and tragic passing away of Sridevi.
She has starred in dozens of hit Bollywood films over the years, including Chandni in 1989
‘I have always been a huge fan of her work. Equally I have always been an admirer of the grace and dignity with which she conducted herself.
‘My heartfelt condolences to everyone in the family. I join all the millions of her fans in mourning her demise. Ma’am, we will always remember you with love and respect.’
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
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.
She allegedly began her affair with producer Boney Kapoor while he was still with his first wife Mona, as Mona recounted to DNA India more than a decade later.
Mona, the late mother of Boney’s Bollywood star son Arjun Kapoor, claimed that by the end of her marriage ‘there was nothing left in the relationship to give it a chance because Sridevi was already with a child.’
After marrying Boney herself 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.’
Who was Sridevi? Bollywood star who landed her debut role aged four and starred in 300 films
Sridevi Kapoor was born Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan in present-day Tamil Nadu state, southern India, in 1963.
She landed her first acting role aged just four in M. A. Thirumugam’s film Thunaivan playing a young Lord Muruga, the Hindu war god.
Her first Bollywood role came at the age of 12 in Julie, in which she played Irene, the younger sister of the titular character.
Sridevi landed her first acting role aged four M. A. Thirumugam’s film Thunaivan playing a young Lord Muruga, the Hindu war god
Her big break came in 1983 with a leading role in comedy film Himmatwala (pictured)
By 1979 she was ready to take on her first leading Bollywood role in Hindi film Solva Sawan, where she plays a 16-year-old aspiring teacher named Mehna.
But it was in 1983 that she broke the big time with comedy Himmatwala in which she played the female lead as Rekha Bandookwala.
From there Sridevi went on to star in the most popular Bollywood films of the Eighties and Nineties, establishing herself as the industry’s first female superstar in the process.
Her films were also among the most commercially successful, and at the peak of her fame she earned more than $2million per year, according to the Free Press Journal.
After a big-screen hiatus in order to start a family with husband and producer Boney Kapoor, Sridevi returned to cinema with 2011 film English Vinglish
In 1996 she married producer Boney Kapoor after he divorced his first wife Mona Shourie the same year.
After 1997 film Judaai hit cinemas, Sridevi announced she would be taking a break in order to start a family with her new husband.
The pair had two daughters in the following years with Jhanvi the first to arrive in March 1997, followed by Khushi, who was born in November 2000.
After a six-year hiatus she returned to the small screen, starring in a series of sitcoms and appearing as a judge on TV talent shows.
2011 marked her return to cinema in English Vinglish which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.
Despite her public profile Sridevi was known as an intensely private person who fiercely denied rumours she had undergone plastic surgery
Her most recent film role was in 2017 thriller Mom, which was produced by her husband, and sees her play a vigilante who sets out to avenge her daughter.
She will also appear in Shahrukh Khan’s upcoming film Zero, where she makes a small cameo as herself, but was not shooting any other films at the time of her death.
In total she starred in more than 300 films over a career which spanned five decades.
Despite her high public profile, Sridevi was known as an intensely private person who felt huge pressure to appear perfect, Gulf News reports.
She fiercely denied undergoing cosmetic procedures to appear youthful, the paper writes, though her looks changed significantly over the years.
She spent much of her later life at her bungalow in Andheri in the west of Mumbai with her husband, one of four properties she owned.
The pair also had a flee of luxury cars, including a Porshe Cayenne, Bentleys and Audis. The couple were worth an estimated $35million when she died.