Sridevi’s Final Journey: A Look at the Dramatic Events Surrounding her Demise

By Neha Jha

Mar 1, 2018

Sridevi was laid to rest finally on Wednesday, more than 72 hours after her unfortunate demise at the age of 54 in Dubai where she was attending a family wedding. Sunday morning brought along with a shocking news which jolted the entire film fraternity and the country, at large. While we are still grappling with this cruel blow by fate, a lot of dramatic events unfolded in the past 3 days.

Here’s a low-down on the events leading to Sridevi’s last rites at Vile Parle crematorium on Wednesday –

February 25, 2018 – News broke out close to 3 am that Sridevi succumbed to a massive cardiac arrest on the night of February 24 at the hotel room in Dubai she was staying at. She, along with her husband producer Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi Kapoor, was attending her nephew Mohit Marwah’s wedding. Her elder daughter Jhanvi was busy shooting back in India.

The initial reaction was met with skepticism and denial as many believed it to be a hoax. Sridevi had posted her pictures from the wedding function hours before her demise. She was all hale and hearty. However, once her brother-in-law Sanjay Kapoor, who had returned to India after the wedding, confirmed that the news was true, did everyone saw their worst fears come true. He also confirmed the time of her death to be somewhere between 11-11.30PM, February 24.

Tributes poured in from all quarters after the news was confirmed. Amitabh Bachchan`s premonic tweet regarding the feeling of some kind of anxiety was among the first to be reported. Priyanka Chopra and Jacqueline Fernandez were among the first to tweet their shock and condolences. As morning came in, more and more people expressed their shock over her sudden death.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Kovind too offered their condolences on Twitter. Kamal Haasan, Sridevi’s long-time co-star, and friend expressed his grief over her untimely death via a video. From Bollywood superstars to megastars from the South, everyone was in disbelief. By Sunday evening, an entire pandemonium arose in front of Anil Kapoor’s residence as Bollywood stars and fans went in to express their condolences. The media photographed many stars from both South Indian industry and Bollywood entering Anil Kapoor’s house to offer condolences.

Mainstream media reported that the mortal remains of Sridevi will be brought to Mumbai via Anil Ambani’s private jet. However, it became increasingly unclear about the arrival of the remains when the news broke that the post-mortem was yet to be completed and the delay in procedures will take time. It was then reported that Sridevi’s remains will be brought back on Monday. Anil Kapoor, Khushi Kapoor, and Arjun Kapoor had returned to Mumbai.

February 26 - Sanjay Kapoor said that Sridevi had no history of heart diseases. Many sections of social media began speculating that plastic surgeries and the tension surrounding her daughter’s debut in Bollywood were the reasons behind her cardiac arrest. News began circulating that Boney Kapoor, who had returned to India after the wedding, went to Dubai again to surprise Sridevi. The two were to have dinner together. He woke her up around 5.30PM and Sridevi went to the washroom to freshen up. When she did not return even after 15 minutes, Boney Kapoor knocked on the door. Hearing no response, he forced open the door and found Sridevi face down in the bathtub. He called a friend and after attempts to revive her failed the police was called.

It was clear on Monday evening that the delay was likely to be extended since forensic reports were still awaited as to her cause of death. However, a twist came in when the Gulf News reported that the death certificate mentioned the cause of death as “accidental drowning”. Speculations were further enhanced when it was reported that traces of alcohol were found in her system. A section of the media began widespread speculations over the cause of her demise which was condemned.

The case was transferred to Dubai Public Prosecution and it was reported that Sridevi’s phone records were also checked. The mortal remains were yet to be repatriated as clearance was awaited. Boney Kapoor’s statement was also recorded as he was the last person to see her alive. The hotel room where they were staying was sealed. Arjun Kapoor rushed back to Dubai.

February 27 – The mortal remains of Sridevi were handed over to the family post noon. The Consulate General of India in Dubai tweeted: "Update: Dubai Police has handed over the Consulate and the family members letters for the release of the mortal remains of the Indian cinema icon Sridevi Boney Kapoor so that they can proceed for embalming." It was reported in the afternoon that the remains were being taken for embalming. Meanwhile, in India, people expressed outrage over the disturbing coverage of Sridevi’s demise by certain sections of media. Reports came in that the Kapoor family was trying hard to keep Sridevi’s daughters away from the TV.

The Dubai Public Prosecutor’s Office closed the case citing a cause of death as “accidental drowning in the bathtub following the loss of consciousness.” After a long wait of around 3 days, Sridevi’s mortal remains arrived on Tuesday night at Mumbai airport. The family received her remains at Boney Kapoor’s Lokhandwala residence amid tight security.

February 28 – Sridevi’s remains were kept at Celebration Sports Club, Lokhandwala, for last respects. Members of the film fraternity arrived to pay their last respects on Wednesday morning. Many fans gathered outside the club to catch a last glimpse of the beloved star. But the tight security did not allow anyone to get in. The last journey was to begin at 2 PM via a procession to the Vile Parle crematorium where she was to be cremated at 3.30PM.

Sridevi was given full state honors at the Celebration Sports Club by the Mumbai Police. Her body was covered with the national flag as well. The procession from Lokhandwala to Vile Parle witnessed thousands of fans as Sridevi’s remains accompanied by her family was taken in a truck covered with white flowers. The Mumbai Police had to resort to lathi charge to deal with fans who swarmed the streets and stood on flyovers and dividers for Sridevi’s last glimpse.

Sridevi was cremated on Wednesday evening at the Vile Parle crematorium next to Pawan Hans. Boney Kapoor performed the last rites. Photographs and videos of her last rites were circulated on social media. She was draped in a red-golden Kanjeevaram saree with red bindi and jewelry. A few Bollywood stars including Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Prasoon Joshi, Katrina Kaif attended her cremation.

The family released a letter via social media asking for privacy and fairness so that Sridevi’s two daughters could remember their mother with fond memories. Boney Kapoor, too, released a letter thanking Arjun and Anshula Kapoor and asking for privacy to mourn Sri’s demise so that they “can look for ways to move forward without her.”

Add Your Review