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Stars, fans throng to Andheri to bid farewell to Sridevi 


The family held a condolence meeting for fans and industry insiders at the Celebrations Sports Club in Lokhandwala, Andheri.

Suparna Thombare

Actress Sridevi's fans queued up outside Celebrations Sports Club in Andheri to pay their last respects to her on Wednesday. The actress's mortal remains were flown back home after the Dubai police concluded the investigation as a case of 'accidental drowning' on 27 February. 

Sridevi, who rose to superstardom in the south Indian film industry with films like Moondru Mudichu (1976), 16 Vayathinile (1977), Moondram Pirai (1982) passed away on 24 February, by accidentally drowning in the bathtub of her hotel in Dubai. She was 54.

The actress was among the few who managed to act in five different film industries — Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada. The actress rose to prominence in the Hindi film industry through films like Himmatwala (1983), Sadma (1983), Mr. India (1987) and Chaal Baaz (1989). Incidentally, today is the 21st anniversary of Sridevi's film Judaai (1997), following which she took a break from acting and returned in 2012 with English Vinglish.

The family held a vigil at their residence, Bhagya, in Juhu till the arrival of the remains. Visitors like Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth among others had arrived early on Monday to pay their condolences to the family. Her body was kept in a huge glass case.

Pictures: Celebrities and fans bid Sridevi farewell on her final journey

The condolence meet at Celebrations Sports Club in Andheri was the first time that fans had been allowed permission to catch a last glimpse of their favourite film star. The family had arranged for two separate entries for industry insiders and fans to view the body. 

The venue was mobbed by a sea of fans who stood in queues to say a final goodbye to the actress. At one point, the crowd surge led to the police resorting to a lathi charge to help control it. 

One fan said, "Bhagwan ke darshan lene ja rahe hain aisi feeling aa rahi hai" (It feels like we are going to see our god) 

The Mumbai police also paid respects to the actress with their official band playing the farewell tune at the event. 

Pictures: Fans queue up to pay last respects to Sridevi ahead of funeral

Several prominent names in the Indian film industry joined the fans as they visited the venue to pay their last respects to the actress hailed as a female superstar of Indian cinema. 

Filmmaker Karan Johar accompanied the family to the venue. He was among the first to rush to Sridevi's daughter, Jahnvi's side, when the news of the actress's death arrived. The director is currently in the process of launching Jahnvi in his home production, Dhadak. Johar, and designer Manish Malhotra, stayed at the family's side throughout the day. 

The family received the visitors with joined hands. While Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja took in the condolences, Boney and his daughters looked  grief stricken as they stood near the body. 

Actor Arbaaz Khan also reached the location early, and was followed by director Farah Khan, whose debut Om Shanti Om (2007) had Sridevi making a rare appearance on screen.

Pictures: Celebrities and fans bid Sridevi farewell on her final journey

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, was joined by mother-in-law, Jaya Bachchan and sister-in-law Shweta Nanda as they arrived to the event at 11am. Sridevi's long time co-star, Amitabh Bachchan, arrived later in the day. 

Madhuri Dixit, who dethroned Sridevi in Hindi cinema, also arrived with husband, Dr Sriram Nene, to bid farewell to her colleague. 

Director Subhash Ghai, who has worked closely with Sridevi, Boney and Anil, was also present.

Another veteran, Hema Malini, attended the meeting with daughter Esha Deol. Jaya Prada and Rati Agnihotri were among some of Sridevi's seniors who offered her condolences to the family. 

Pictures: Fans queue up to pay last respects to Sridevi ahead of funeral

Actress Tabu, too, made a rare appearance in public to pay her respects. She was later followed by Sushmita Sen, and actors Ravi Kishan, and Jacqueline Fernandez. 

Sridevi's MOM (2017) co-star, Akshaye Khanna was also spotted at the venue.

Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, too, paid his respects to the actress he called 'magic'. The director recently paid tribute to the star saying, "here is nobody else who can do 'Hawa Hawaai' and 'Kate Nahin Katte' the way she can. She had natural-born instincts for the camera, which she sharpened and honed over the years. It is strange to be talking about her in the past tense." 

The family and the police ended the condolence meeting at 12.30pm, with tons of fans still queuing up outside to catch a final glimpse of Sridevi. While several hundreds were disappointed, several film industry members were still spotted arriving at the venue. 

The final rites ceremony will begin at 3.30pm at Vile Parle Seva Samaj crematorium near Pawan Hans in Juhu. Her body will be taken to the crematorium in a truck with flowers.