NEW DELHI — Iconic movie star Sridevi Kapoor died late Saturday after accidentally drowning in a hotel bathtub, an autopsy report says. Kapoor's death has prompted an outpouring of grief by movie stars, politicians and fans in India, where she was celebrated for depicting strong female characters on screen.
Known to fans by her screen name, Sridevi, the beloved star, 54, died in a hotel room in Dubai, where she was reportedly attending her husband's nephew's wedding. She was found by her husband, Boney Kapoor, a prominent Indian film producer, according to news reports in India.
Hundreds of fans gathered at Sridevi’s home in Mumbai to catch a final glimpse of her body, which will eventually be flown back from Dubai. Indian movie stars, too, gathered to mourn the legendary actress, dubbed “India's first female superstar” by the local media because she often was paid more than her male co-stars and was one of few female stars to play the role of the protagonist. Many praised her soaring performances in more than 300 films. She singled herself out in an Indian movie industry dominated by men.
Sridevi's career spanned five decades — she started working in movies at age 4. By the time she was 13, she was playing adult roles. She acted in regional cinema — in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam movies — before conquering the Hindi film industry, known as Bollywood. As an actress, she was known for her comedic facial expressions, striking dance sequences and versatility. In her final film, “Mom,” she played the mother who sets out to avenge the rape of her daughter.
On Monday, Bollywood stars canceled parties and film shoots to grieve. Actor Hrithik Roshan, who said his first role in a movie was with Sridevi, recalled in a tweet how she pretended to be nervous when she first met him, to calm his nerves.
Actress Alia Bhatt tweeted, “Nothing makes sense. I have no words.. just completely shocked. RIP Sri Devi. My icon forever. Love you.”
Politicians added to the chorus of grief. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Saddened by the untimely demise of noted actor Sridevi,” adding, “May her soul rest in peace.”