Family appeals for privacy; condolence meet, cremation today
Teary-eyed fans gathered outside actor Sridevi’s residence in Lokhandwala on Tuesday, bracing themselves to bid adieu to the actor.
A group of domestic workers waiting outside the gate of Green Acres Apartment said in unison that their favourite movie of hers was Himmatwala. It is unusual for an 11-year-old’s favourite movie to be from the 1980s, but Preeti has inherited the love for the actor from her mother, Anita Rambasanti, a domestic worker. “My favourite Sridevi movie is Chandni,” Preeti said.
While fans waited for a last glimpse of the actor, the body of Sridevi reached Mumbai by private jet on Tuesday night and was taken to her residence in Lokhandwala. The family has organised a condolence meeting on Wednesday, and the body will be cremated in the afternoon.
The Mumbai Police and the Central Industrial Security Force laid a tight cordon around the airport when the jet landed. The Mumbai Traffic Police deployed adequate personnel on the route from Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport to her residence to ensure a smooth journey.
Police officers said the body was taken in an ambulance to Green Acres Apartments in Lokhandwala. Escorted by a police cavalcade, the ambulance reached the building around 10:30 p.m., along with the actor’s family and industrialist Anil Ambani. Designer Manish Malhotra arrived shortly thereafter.
The crowd outside the building thinned in the afternoon, but kept swelling in size as the hours passed. The police set up barricades, screening every entrant with the help of security guards and instructing fans to gather in one corner.
Residents of nearby buildings were glued to their windows and balconies, stepped out in terraces, and some even climbed trees for a better view. Passersby slowed down to watch and take pictures, but were quickly moved ahead by the police.
Anil Sogani, a resident of the building opposite Green Acres, said, “I used to see Sridevi in the evenings, strolling in the lawn with her children. Veer Singh, who had been collecting garbage from the residence for the last five years, said, “I remember her as somebody who was really kind and kept to herself.”
Dilip Munde, a security guard of a neighbouring building, remembered Sridevi not as the famous actor, but as a simple woman clad in a sober sari on her way to buy vegetables and fruits, with no airs about her. “She used to converse with a vendor called Ravi him in Tamil, affectionately calling him Pintoo,” he recalled.