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India’s Chandni heads home for the last time

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ending speculation over Bollywood diva Sridevi's sudden death, the Dubai Public Prosecutors Office yesterday said she accidentally drowned following loss of consciousness and her body has been released to the family after a comprehensive probe.

Three days after the actor was found dead in her room at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel, the family was finally given custody of her body. Family members, including her film-maker husband Boney Kapoor and his son Arjun Kapoor, took the body from the morgue to get it embalmed before heading for the Dubai airport for her final journey home.

The funeral will be held in Mumbai today. A private jet had flown in to Dubai from Mumbai on Sunday, a day after her untimely end. Dubai Media Office, the official Twitter handle of the media office of the government, said in a series of tweets that the case is now closed. "Dubai Public Prosecution has approved the release of the body of the Indian actress Sridevi to her family following the completion of a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances of her death," it said. "Dubai Public Prosecution stressed that all regular procedures followed in such cases have been completed. As per the forensic report, the death of the Indian actress occurred due to accidental drowning following loss of consciousness. The case has now been closed."

The 54-year-old actor, known as Indian cinema's first woman superstar, leaves behind her husband Boney and their two daughters Jhanvi and Khushi. The Consulate General of India in Dubai also confirmed on Twitter that Dubai Police had given permission to take the body for embalming. In Dubai, embalming is routinely done in cases where the body has to be transported, Gulf News reported.

"Arjun went to Dubai yesterday morning to be with his father at the hotel while the formalities are being wrapped up and to oversee the return journey. On behalf of Khushi, Janhvi, Boney Kapoor, the entire Kapoor and Ayyappan families, a sincere thanks to the media for your continued sensitivity and support during this emotional moment," a statement by the family said,” said an official statement from the family in Mumbai. "We request you to kindly join us in paying our last respect to a remarkable actor, beloved wife and loving mother," it added.

Sridevi was in Dubai for a family wedding and had stayed back after the ceremonies. Her husband had flown back to Mumbai with their younger daughter Khushi, but returned to Dubai to surprise her, reports said. The news of her death, first reported at around 3 am IST on Sunday, sent shock waves across India with those who knew her at a loss to explain how the star, who was present at several wedding functions in Dubai last week, could die so suddenly.

In Mumbai, industry insiders and friends visited the family in the home of actor Anil Kapoor, Boney's younger brother. With their father away, Khushi and Jhanvi were at their uncle's Juhu home. Director Anees Bazmi, who has worked with Boney Kapoor on "No Entry",  was amongst the visitors today. "It is a big shock for everyone. I have worked with the entire Kapoor family. I can't imagine what Boneyji would be going through at this point. He loved her very much. Their two daughters are so young. It is a sad situation. I have not told the family about what the media is reporting. It is sad, unfortunate. A person like her does not deserve this," Bazmi told PTI while referring to the sensational TV coverage of the death.

The others who have called on the family in their hour of grief include Shah Rukh Khan, and his wife Gauri, Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan,  Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Tabu, Rekha and Farah Khan, Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi. While celebrities went to condole her death at Anil Kapoor's residence, there were staggered crowds outside Sridevi's home in a Lokhandwala building.

A chartered plane carrying the mortal remains of Bollywood diva Sridevi took off last evening from here for Mumbai where film personalities and fans are eagerly waiting to see her one last time. The Embraer aircraft belonging to Anil Ambani's ADAG group departed from Dubai at around 7 pm (IST), a senior Mumbai airport official said. The mortal remains of arguably the first woman superstar of the silver screen will be kept at the Sports Club Garden in Lokhandvala Complex in the western suburb of Andheri where people can pay their last respects from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm today. The last rites will be held at 3.30 pm, according to a statement issued by her family.

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