NEW DELHI – Thousands of fans gathered in the western Indian state of Mumbai Wednesday to bid final adieu to iconic Bollywood actor Sridevi Kapoor.
The actor – known just as Sridevi – had drowned in a bathtub on Saturday in a hotel in Dubai, where she had traveled to attend a family wedding.
Her last rites were performed in a somber ceremony in Mumbai – where Bollywood, the Hindi film industry is located – after her body was flown-in from Dubai following a post mortem that had confirmed death by drowning.
Her fans had queued up at a sports club for hours with flowers, placards with condolence messages, and photos to pay tribute to the actor.
Bollywood’s first female superstar, who starred in hits such as “Mawaali” (1983), “Tohfa” (1984), “Mr India” (1987) and “Chandni” (1989), was cremated with full state honors, with her body covered in the Indian flag during the funeral.
The ceremony was attended by several leading Bollywood actors, including Aishwarya Rai, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Shahrukh Khan.
The embalmed body of the actor was taken in a special vehicle from the club to the crematorium, located further south in the city, where she was cremated in a private ceremony.
The sudden death of the 54-year-old actor in Dubai had shocked India and grabbed headlines for days.
The Indian media had initially reported that the actor passed away after suffering a massive heart attack, but on Monday, the results of a post mortem had confirmed that the actor had died due to “accidental drowning following loss of consciousness.”
The sudden death had led to wild speculations and conjectures in the Indian media, forcing the family and Indian authorities to urge restraint.
“The media interest in the untimely demise of Sridevi is understandable. But the frenzy of speculation does not help,” the Indian Ambassador to United Arab Emirates, Navdeep Suri had tweeted on Tuesday.
He had also urged the media to let “experts determine the cause of the demise.”
Sridevi made her Bollywood debut in 1978 with the movie “Solva Sawan,” and after two decades of ruling Bollywood as a leading lady, decided to retire in 1997 to focus on her family.
The actor, who was married to Bollywood producer Boney Kapoor, returned to the silver screen in 2012 with the hugely successful comedy-drama “English Vinglish.”