The news of Sridevi’s death was shocking in itself but the events that followed were even more saddening.
February 24, 2018 seemed like just another leisurely Saturday for Indians. With Sunday being a holiday for most people in the country, many prefer to stay awake till late in the night. This Saturday was no different, at least it seemed so. But, for those who were awake till longer than usual, they did not know what was in store.
At around 2 am, WhatsApp messages started trickling in. Sridevi dead, Sridevi no more. What? Another hoax! No please, not at 2 am in the night. A few minutes passed by and one hoped there was confirmation of the fake news. However, it wasn’t to be. The notifications over Sridevi’s death just did not stop coming in. Could this be true, seriously?
Time to switch on the TV to check the news. Although news channels function 24/7, the last live bulletin is actually around 11 pm on most channels. But, the ticker on the channels are always functional – the real 24/7 part of broadcast journalism. And, there it was, BREAKING NEWS – Sridevi passes away at 54. Television channels have a habit of jumping the gun and bringing in false information. One only hoped they did it again. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Sridevi was actually no more, only 54!
The next question on everyone’s mind was obviously who, when, where, why. Those who follow Bollywood were aware that she was in Dubai with husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi for the wedding of a relative. Initial reports claimed she suffered a massive heart attack. As news of her death spread thick and fast, shocked fans and well-wishers gathered outside her residence in Mumbai. For those unaware, Sunday morning was a complete shocker. By early morning, Twitter was flooded with condolences from the film fraternity and fans alike, both still trying to come to terms with what had transpired on the dark night before.
Alas, the news of Sridevi’s death was not going to die down without drama. Apparently, husband Boney Kapoor who had returned to Mumbai flew back to surprise his wife. The duo were supposed to have a romantic dinner when Sridevi went into the bathtub to freshen up from where she never returned. After calling out to her numerous times, Boney broke open the door of the room to find Sridevi motionless.
“Whether she first drowned and then became unconscious, or she first fell asleep or unconscious and then drowned, nobody will, perhaps, ever know. But she probably never got a chance to even struggle for a minute because had she moved her arms and legs in panic while drowning, there would be some water spilling out of the tub. But there wasn’t a drop of water on the floor outside the tub area. The mystery will remain unsolved,” Boney’s friend and trade analyst Komal Nahta told IANS.
The mystery of her death only deepened when the forensic report stated the cause of the death as ‘accidental drowning’. The Dubai government then said that the police transferred the case to the “Dubai Public Prosecution” to carry out regular legal procedures followed in such cases, which delayed the return of her mortal remains to India. The body was released for embalming after autopsy. In the meanwhile, Arjun Kapoor flew to Dubai to stand by his father in the time of grave tragedy for the family, putting away whatever differences he may have had with the late actress. For the uninitiated, Boney separated from Arjun’s mother Mona to marry Sridevi.
Three days after her sudden death in Dubai, Sridevi’s body was brought back home to Mumbai, flown in a private jet. The mortal remains were accompanied by husband Boney Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor. Die-hard fans, Bollywood and the South film industry lined up for her funeral, although the news was still to sink in for many. And for someone who lived with controversy, she died with it too. The state funeral accorded to her was questioned and even an RTI was filed over the same. Ved Bhushan, a retired ACP of Delhi Police, came up with an opinion that the actress’ death looked like a ‘planned murder’. According to Bhushan, who visited the Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai to probe the incident, underworld don Dawood Ibrahim may have had a hand in it since he has a stronghold in the United Arab Emirates’ city and has close relationship with Dubai prince’s family. Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy also raised Dawood Ibrahim’s name in connection with Sridevi’s death.
As days and months passed by, the news and controversies slowly died now. Her daughter Janhvi went on to make a successful debut with Dhadak while Boney went back to socialising. Another wedding took place in the family, with Sonam getting married. And now, it’s been a year, and memories of Sridevi are coming flying back.
The untimely death of the superstar was a timely reminder that one must value life as one never knows when it is snatched away!