In the blazing afternoon sun a few minutes ago, the funeral cortege bearing the mortal remains of Sridevi left the Celebration Sports Club in Lokhandwala and began its short journey to the Pawan Hans Crematorium in Juhu. Outside on the streets, there was pandemonium as the bedecked truck carrying the body and close family members struggled to negotiate its way through the screaming, jostling crowds. The Chennai funeral in December 2016 of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha was nothing in comparison. Police struggled to control Bollywood aficionados who blocked every inch of space hoping to see the stars who had come to pay their condolences and perhaps take pictures of them.
Through it all, standing silently by the bier tearfully looking down with broken hearts at the woman they loved most, was Sridevi’s husband Boney Kapoor and daughter Jahnvi. Boney’s son Arjun Kapoor, who flew down to Dubai to bring his father and the body home, was also there. As was Boney’s nephew Mohit Marwah, for whose wedding in Dubai Sridevi and Boney had gone last week. Also by their side was Sanjay Kapoor, Boney’s younger brother. The third brother Anil Kapoor, who made 16 films with Sridevi, followed the truck in a car with other family members including the younger daughter of Sridevi and Boney Kapoor, Khushi.
Earlier, just before the cortege left Celebration Sports Club where the body had lain in state for hours, the Mumbai Police paid tribute to Sridevi by wrapping her body in the national tricolour even as the Police Band played softly in the background. Later on at the Pawan Hans Crematorium, this flag will be removed and given to Boney Kapoor by a senior officer of the Mumbai Police. As soon as the funeral pyre is lit, Sridevi will be given a 13-gun salute that is reserved for citizens who are given a state funeral by the government. Fittingly, the funeral cortege is going to skirt through Juhu in suburban Mumbai, which is Bollywood’s Beverly Hills… an area Sridevi was most familiar with when she ruled the silver screen as India’s first female superstar.