Mumbai: Thousands of fans joined a long procession to mark the final journey of veteran Bollywood actress Sridevi, which started from near her residence to a crematorium in Vile Parle this afternoon.
A tall, air-conditioned truck, fully decorated with white flowers — her favourite colour — carried her body which was first draped in the National Tricolour and then accorded a police gun salute, as cries of “Sridevi Amar Rahe” rent the air.
Maharashtra government has accorded full state honours for the funeral of Sridevi, who was conferred a Padma Shri in 2013, which included draping her body in the national Tricolour, elaborate arrangements by the Mumbai Police, and a gun salute before the cremation.
Inside, Sridevi was lying serene with full make-up, a large south Indian style ‘sindoor’ wearing a ceremonial gold and maroon Kanjeevaram sari, a necklace, since she died a ‘suhaagan’ (still married), and almost appeared like a goddess in a deep slumber.
Her grieving family members, including husband Boney Kapoor, his son Arjun Kapoor and brothers Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Kapoor were among those who travelled in the truck with the body.
The approximately six km long journey was expected to be completed by 3.30 p.m. as the truck slowly wend its way through some of the poshest areas of Andheri and Vile Parle sububrbs, a massive portrait of Sridevi visible from a distance as the truck moved ahead.
The procession was led by several family members, close relatives, friends and even neighbours of the Green Acres CHS where the family lived in Lokhandwala Complex.
Earlier, Sridevi’s body was kept for three hours at the Celebrations Sports Club, where thousands joined to pay their last respects.
The final journey commenced around 2 p.m. to the Vile Parle Seva Samaj Crematorium and Hindu Cemetery on S.V. Road, where it will reach around 3.30 p.m.
Many mourners, including Bollywood personalities, politicians and business persons, grieved for the queen of the silver screen Sridevi and prepared to bid her a final goodbye.
Since dawn thousands of teary-eyed fans and admirers of the late actress, many carrying flowers, had queued up outside the Celebration Sports Club for a final ‘darshan’ of their idol.
After the flower-bedecked body was brought to the club premises a steady stream of celebrities came in their vehicles and where whisked inside to pay their last respects.
Among the early callers seen were Rekha, Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, Arbaaz Khan, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Akshaye Khanna, Tabu, Farah Khan, Nitin Mukesh, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Vidya Balan, Sushmita Sen, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Madhur Bhandarkar, Deepika Padukone, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Jackie Shroff, Farhan Akhtar, Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan, John Abraham, Ajay Devgn and Kajol, Anupam Kher and Sulabha Arya, among many others.
Earlier, in the past four days since her demise, the Kapoor household had witnessed a steady stream of visitors, including Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Krishna Raj Kapoor.
Most of the visitors Wednesday were sporting dark sunglasses to ward off the harsh early-summer glare, carrying flowers or small bouquets, embraced and consoled the bereaved family members, fleeted in from the main entrance and out from the other side as fans tried to catch a glimpse.
Sridevi’s body was flown to Mumbai from Dubai where she passed away around 11 p.m. on February 24, and from the airport was taken to the Kapoor residence in Green Acres.
Sridevi passed away following accidental drowning in a bathtub in her hotel room in Dubai, plunging millions of her fans in shock as the news emanated on Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, Green Acres Co-operative Housing Society Limited on Wednesday cancelled Holi celebrations on March 2, in view of the sudden demise of Sridevi.
The Mumbai Police effected elaborate security arrangements at various venues, and arranged special traffic and crowd management for Sridevi’s last journey. (IANS)