MUMBAI: There could be some more delay in bringing actor Sridevi’s body back to India, with the Dubai police telling the Indian Embassy that “another clearance” is awaited. India’s envoy to the United Arab Emirates Navdeep Suri said the embassy is working closely with local authorities to expedite the release of the actor’s body so that it can be flown back to India for the funeral. A forensic report has said Sridevi, in Dubai to attend a family wedding, “accidentally drowned” in a bathtub in her hotel room on Saturday. The police have recorded her husband, film director Boney Kapoor’s statement, reports said.
Mr Suri told news agency PTI that the embassy is waiting for “another clearance” from the Dubai authorities for the body to be released and flown back to Mumbai. “We are working with local authorities to ensure that mortal remains can be sent to India at the earliest. We are on the job. Our experience in similar cases tells us that it does take 2-3 days to complete processes,” Mr Suri tweeted.
The ambassador cautioned against a “frenzy of speculation,” suggesting that “we leave it to the experts to determine cause of demise Let’s be responsible. The embassy, he said, is in “regular contact” with Sridevi’s family.
Sridevi’s body was likely to be embalmed today, Dubai-based newspaper Khaleej Times reported. Her body will be brought back to Mumbai for the funeral by a chartered jet.
Sridevi was found unconscious in a bathtub in her hotel apartment at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers by her husband, producer Boney Kapoor, on Saturday evening, media reports said. After a medical team failed to revive her, she was taken to a hospital, where she was declared dead.
The postmortem report said Sridevi fell into the bathtub after losing consciousness and drowned. The case was transferred to the “Dubai Public Prosecution” to complete “legal procedures.”
Sridevi’s family had initially said that she died of a heart attack. The forensic report did not mention a cardiac arrest.
Sridevi, Boney Kapoor and their younger daughter Khushi had gone to Dubai to attend a family wedding. Boney Kapoor returned to Mumbai with their daughter after the wedding on February 20, while Sridevi stayed back.
Boney Kapoor returned to Dubai on Saturday to surprise his wife, reports said. The couple was to go out for dinner, but Sridevi collapsed in the bathroom while getting ready.
Movie stars, politicians and Sridevi’s millions of fans have erupted in grief back in India, where she was celebrated for depicting strong female characters on screen and as the “first female superstar of India” in male superstar-dominated Bollywood. In Mumbai, the film fraternity poured in at the home of Anil Kapoor – Sridevi’s brother-in-law and her co-star in blockbuster hits including Mr India – to pay their respects. Among the visitors were leading actors Karisma Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, actor-politician Kamal Haasan and Telugu superstar Venkatesh.
Sridevi’s career spanned five decades – she started working in movies at age 4. By the time she was 13, she was playing lead roles. She acted in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam movies before scripting a soaring career in Bollywood. A 15-year break from movies followed her marriage to Boney Kapoor. Sridevi returned in 2012 with the smash-hit “English Vinglish”. She followed it up with the thriller “Mom”. She shot for a special appearance in superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming film – “Zero” – which releases in December. Sridevi is survived by her husband, and two daughters, Jhanvi and Khushi.