She had a knack for bringing us together - every time she appeared on the big screen, we, in unison, would be left captivated by her charms. And she did it yesterday again - brought the country together as it bid the final goodbye to India's first female superstar, Sridevi.
A sea of fans had gathered outside The Celebration Sports Club in Andheri from as early as 4 am yesterday, waiting to catch one last glimpse of Sridevi. The mortal remains were kept at the club, minutes away from her Lokhandwala home, so that fans could pay their last respects to the star who had enthralled them for the past four decades. More than 200 policemen were present at the venue to keep the teeming crowd in check. The hall had three entry points - one each for VIPs, the media and the public, reports Mid-Day.
Inside the hall, Sridevi's mortal remains were draped in a red Kanjivaram saree with a bindi on her forehead. Sonam and Rhea Kapoor were by daughters Janhvi and Khushi's side as the two were inconsolable, while Boney Kapoor put on a brave front. Anil and Sanjay Kapoor received the guests. Rani Mukerji, who has often expressed her admiration for the superstar and shared a deep friendship with her, lent her support to the family.
Bollywood came out in full force to pay homage to the actor, who left behind a legacy that very few will be able to match. Madhuri Dixit Nene, who enjoyed a healthy competition with the superstar in their heydays, was one of the first to arrive with husband Sriram Nene.
From yesteryear actors like Hema Malini, Rekha and Rakesh Roshan to the current crop including Ajay Devgn and Kajol, Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor, B-Town celebs grieved the loss of one of the brightest talents.
Jaya Bachchan walked in with daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai while an emotional Vidya Balan came to bid adieu to her idol. Manish Malhotra, who considered Sridevi his muse and his closest friend, is said to have broken down in the final moments.
At the end of the condolence meet, the icon, who was conferred with Padma Shri in 2013, was given state honours as the Mumbai police offered her the Guard Of Honour and draped her body in the tricolour.
The actor began her final journey as mourners kept jostling for space to catch a glimpse of her cortege as it slowly made its way through the city to the Vile Parle crematorium. Some of the fans even tried to break through the barricades, forcing the police to resort to lathicharge. The body of the 54-year-old, who died in Dubai on Saturday, was taken in a hearse that was bedecked in white flowers. Her filmmaker husband, along with Arjun Kapoor, and other family members were beside her in the hearse.
Several stars including Amitabh Bachchan, Jeetendra, Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Rohit Shetty and Farhan Akhtar came to the crematorium for the last rites. The surging crowd made it difficult for the stars to reach the venue. In fact, Sonam too had a tough time to reach the crematorium. After a few rituals, Boney preformed the mukhaagni [last rites] bidding the final adieu to his wife.
As an important chapter of his life came to an end, Boney issued a statement saying, "I am blessed to have the support of Arjun and Anshula [Kapoor, Boney's children], who have been such pillars of strength for myself, Khushi and Janhvi. Together as a family we have tried to face this unbearable loss... To the world she was their Chandni, but to me she was my love, mother to our girls... She was the axis around which our family ran... Rest in peace, my love."