Sridevi Update: Funeral May Be Delayed Even Longer

This story is just going to drag on and on, I can feel it.  And if I am already getting tired of it (not mourning Sridevi, just the logistical updates), can you imagine how exhausted her family must be?  Waiting and waiting and waiting and putting all plans on hold over and over again?

Everyone, including the BBC, is now reporting that Sridevi did not die of a heart attack but rather accidental drowning.  That’s what the autopsy showed.  Supposedly the sequence of events was that Boney flew back to Dubai to surprise her, they were in her hotel room together, and then about 5:30 she went into the bathroom, stopped responding when Boney called her, he opened the door to find her face down in the tub.

If that was the real sequence of events, “heart attack” isn’t that far of a leap, it would be where my mind would go too if I saw someone non-responsive who had been fine a minute earlier.  But the autopsy report showed she actually died of drowning, and there was alcohol in her system.  So the more likely sequence of events is that she fell into the tub and because she was a little drunk, was not able to control her gag reflex and drowned.

Drowning, as I am sure we all know, is not in fact suffocation. That is, you don’t have to be held under water until you run out of air.  It is that you accidentally aspirate water into your lungs, which can happen very quickly in a very small amount of water.  Sridevi, it is also now being reported, was dead when she was found, the ambulance took her to the hospital but she was dead at the scene.  Which would be consistent with drowning.

Image result for sridevi

(just wanted to put a pretty picture of her to cheer us up)

 

So this could be a simple misunderstanding.  Boney assumed heart attack, the ambulance was called, and only after the autopsy was it verified to be drowning instead.  Which is how this is supposed to work and why there are autopsies.

What is unclear at this point is if and when the Dubai authorities will release the body.  Some reports say they are releasing it for embalming now, after which it will be taken on the Ambani jet back to Bombay and funeral plans begun immediately.  Other reports say there is a hold on it until the public prosecutor finishes the investigation.

 

I hope there is a full investigation just because we have seen what happens when there isn’t.  Divya Bhartya’s death is still talked about, so is Natalie Wood’s.  These things can linger on and on and on and the family isn’t allowed to fully grieve, or remember the good things about the life, because the focus is on the death.

 

Let’s take Divya’s for an example.  She died from falling out of the window (or off the terrace?) of her apartment building.  There were rumors of suicide, of her secret husband Sajid Nadiawala killing her, all sorts of things.  But the people who were verified to have been with her moments before her death, the wardrobe mistress fitting her for her next film, mentioned in an interview that she was quite a bit drunk at the time.  So, to me, it seems most likely that she fell simply because she was drunk.  And her family, in an effort to hide this minor scandal (of a 19 year old girl being drunk) ended up creating the much larger scandal as no one believed the report of an accidental fall without further reasons.

Image result for divya bharti

(Divya.  So pretty!)

I am afraid of something similar here.  If Boney and the family were trying to hide that Sridevi was drunk enough to have fallen into a tub and not been able to get out, then they accidentally left themselves open for all kinds of conspiracy theories, the simplest being of course that Boney killed her.  Seeing as they were alone in the room together and he was her husband (always the first suspect).  My hope is that there will be no cover up, her actual blood alcohol levels will be revealed and everything will be clear.

 

The tragedy at the moment is that back in Bombay the family and friends are left in a state of uncertainty.  I’ve been there, that feeling of just wanting to get through the funeral and the public grief so you can figure out where you go in your life from here and how you move on.  And it’s just not ending!  More and more people are gathering at Anil Kapoor’s house, Tabu and Madhuri and Farah Khan and Farhan Akhtar and many others have all reportedly made there way there.  And they will all have to stay, and be hosted by the family, and make small talk, while back in Dubai Boney waits and waits for his wife’s body to be released.

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40 thoughts on “Sridevi Update: Funeral May Be Delayed Even Longer

  1. I feel so sorry for Sridevi’s girls. When a family member died in a car accident, the worst part was the delays and investigations and uncertainty regarding when we would get to see the body. It’s so hard waiting without getting to see the person for days. We were shown pictures of the body (for identification purposes) 2 days after the accident and the actual body was not released for another couple days. It’s the absolute worst time period.

    Those girls are so young and even their dad is not able to be with them.

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    • It’s hard, because I am sure they are eager for this period to be over, but on the other hand if there is anything rushed about the process, it means there will be lingering doubts and it will never really over.

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    • Yeah. I can see why they wanted it to be a simple “heart attack”, no one really questioned that when it was reported. Just things about how important it is for women to be healthy and so on and so on. But now I am already seeing articles popping up suggesting there is more to the story.

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    • That somewhat makes sense. They haven’t been a couple that is in constant contact ever (more one where she was always with their girls and he was flying around to film shoots and so on), so in general it doesn’t seem like he was worried about her being alone. But definitely I could believe that the wedding and maybe other factors were a risk for her, so he wanted to be sure that she wasn’t alone.

      On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 9:42 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Plus alone in a hotel room in a strange country vs. “alone” with family in your home city. Very different things.

        Stealth alcoholism is so common with women and often the family lalala’s past it until a crisis forces everyone to admit what’s going on.

        All speculative on my part of course, just that this is reminiscent of experiences I’ve had with some real life situations where middle-aged women have substance abuse problems and instead of getting it treated, family members come up with systems to prop up mom and not confront the problem.

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        • Again, still speculative, but along those same lines the way she is always extra close to her daughters and was so deeply private and cut off from the rest of the industry might also fit. Her daughters learning to be sort of watch dogs from a young age and not leave Mom alone, and Sridevi staying away from outsiders in order to hide her problem.

          If that is the case (purely speculative), poor Jhanvi! Along with everything else, there would be that sense that by choosing to pursue her own career and leaving her mother to go to her filming, she wasn’t there for her.

          On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 10:14 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. There are so many different accounts of things now. It would have been way way worse had this happened in India though. At least there might be no speculation that the investigation was influenced and people might accept the dubai cops’ account more easily. Everyone just wants some closure on this asap. She’s going to get state honours and that probably might be televised. I hope it is. It would really help us all believe that this has in fact happened. It still ain’t registering.

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    • Yes, I agree, much better that it is in Dubai. Really it’s the best kind of place. They know how important she is and will treat the investigation correctly, but at the same time are far enough removed from influence that their decision will be as unquestioned as possible (which means it will still be questioned, but not as much as if it were the Bombay police). If it were America, for instance, I would be worried about the police being caught off guard by the importance of the investigation.

      Cultural question, is there any possibility of a prayer service or something like that before the body is released? In American culture it is standard to hold the funeral and wake and everything else once the body is released, but it is not unheard of in a situation like this to do a “memorial service” instead just for closure. Or even more common, to keep the burial and so on private and do the memorial service months later without a body. Is there anything like that which would be acceptable in Indian/Hindu culture, or is there no kind of service possible without a body?

      On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 10:34 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Oh dear! So in cases where the body cannot be recovered for whatever reason (lost at sea, in a war zone, etc.), there is no possible ceremony of closure for the family? That’s very upsetting.

          On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 10:49 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • When body is lost with no hope of recovery, something symbolic of their mortal being is used as a stand in and cremation rites are conducted. In this case, that would not apply.

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          • Oh dear, so this is the one perfect situation in which it can drag on and on and on, with the body possible to be recovered but stuck in limbo.

            On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 11:05 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • At some point, possibly soon, they would release the body. It’s already been sent for embalming. Hopefully the dubai police work quicker and more efficiently than Indian police. Someone from the family or their lawyers need to take control of this situation asap and begin issuing statements properly.

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          • I did see a thing about a family spokesperson who is telling everyone to funnel questions through him, but of course that’s not working if Sanjay Kapoor (for instance) is still talking to reporters while going in and out of the airport.

            The family is just so large, and everyone is used to interacting directly with the press, I can imagine that wrangling them all into line and shutting down all communication would be difficult. Not to mention the other celebs going in and out of the house who would also need to be told not to share anything with the press.

            On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 11:33 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Well there’s giving bites to the media and there’s leaking information. Ideally, there should be a spokesperson making official statements to the press re logistics and now that the police are involved, whatever information they want to spare on that front. Indian news is going crazy now and the speculations are bordering on bizzare at this point.

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          • Yeah, I’ve been googling to see if there is new news every few hours, and just a glance at the headlines shows me there is no real “news” right now, just insane headlines.

            On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 8:45 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Not only am I tired I’m also really scared of where this may lead and I just don’t want that to happen. It will be too heartbreaking.

            Also, the current trend on social is moralising lectures by people about how we’re supposed to not talk about these theories because that’s disrespect.

            I mean, seriously?! I hate that head in the sand reaction to things. Why can’t we talk about shit? If someone’s is being offensive tell them they’re being rude instead of telling them to shut up just because. Everyone is grieving in their own way just that some people are acting like their grief over this is a lot deeper and spiritual than everyone else’s.

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          • The one thing I am curious about is what will happen if the family who knew the “private” Sridevi directly request the rest of the world who knew the “public” Sridevi to change their behavior. That is, to actually lay claim to authority as knowing her better and having a different kind of grief than everyone else. Because she is someone who it feels like belonged in certain ways to her family, but also to the world as a whole and I don’t know what would happen if those two things were put in conflict with each other.

            On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 9:26 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • When has that ever stopped people from talking? If nothing else, people switch to “this is just my view” or they start speculating about that person’s relationship with the star when they talk about it

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          • I think Sanjay Kapoor’s statement from the airport came very very early, right after the death. He said he had just landed from Dubai but was heading back. Since then there has been nothing from him. I don’t think those family members who are currently in Dubai have talked to the media at all. Even the ones going in and out of Anil Kapoor’s house are just quickly walking in and out, not speaking to the media.

            They really should have set up someone to hand out information every few hours or whenever needed. YRF did put out a tweet that all communications should go through them but I doubt anyone is listening. The biggest problem is that the media is hungry for news so they are just spreading anything without checking especially in the vacuum that has formed since the family is not regularly providing info.

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          • Good point. Goes back to my big concern that the family is trying to avoid a minor “scandal”, like “Sridevi was drunk” and is ending up creating speculation of a much bigger scandal. In the same way, if they had someone reporting that the cause of death was drowning before it leaked through the autopsy report, it would have been a lot easier to contain and control the spin.

            Now even something as simple as officially announcing what family is in the house and who is in Dubai would be reported as news and break up the cycle a little, without truly breaking through their privacy.

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          • Yes, exactly. The media is totally clueless. They don’t even know who is in India and who is in Dubai. I have heard conflicting reports about one daughter being in Dubai while others claim both daughters are at Anil’s house.

            There should be someone to hand out info like this simply because it keeps the false news from spreading and gives the media something to work with so they don’t invent things and create their own fictions.

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          • This is a small part of it, but maybe it is because the Kapoors aren’t really used to this level of media circus? I’m picturing if/when Amitabh dies, and I feel like his family will be able to handle it better because they are used to this level of scrutiny. But it’s not like Sanjay Kapoor is used to being ambushed by dozens of reporters when he gets on and off a plane and having to be careful what he says to them. They are more of a “talk directly to the press when they are promoting a film and otherwise not worry about it” kind of family.

            Honestly, they don’t even have to hire a spokesperson, just send Karan Johar out to the front steps to say something and that would do it. Or, this is what twitter is for! Have one official family twitter account selected and just feed info through that.

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  3. The family probably tried to protect the kids and her legacy by calling it a cardiac arrest. For some reason, in India a mother being an alcoholic is very looked down upon (even more than a father being one). They might’ve felt that it would reflect badly on the young girls, but now it’s turned an even bigger mess.

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    • And again I am thinking of Divya. I am sure that was the same thought process her parents had, simpler to just call it an “accident” without getting in to details. A teenage boy being drunk and falling would be a minor scandal, but I imagine a teenage girl would be much worse, and there would be a desire to protect her memory. And of course it ended up leading to years of speculation.

      Considering how isolated Sridevi and her girls always seemed to be from the rest of the family, I wonder if this is news even to those within the family circle? It would be quite the thing to process, both learning that your aunt/sister-in-law/stepmother/whatever has died suddenly and that there was this secret that her girls and husband were keeping to themselves that must have colored every interaction.

      On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 1:31 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yes, they looked so isolated and that’s why I worry for the girls. They have no maternal side, and the paternal side isn’t as close to them. And losing your mom at 17/19 is just so heart breaking. It really does take a village to raise a child.. And honestly, Boney was a man in love. I mean he might not have been the best dad/husband to Mona but he was besotted with Sridevi.

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        • Well, on the other side of things, having a secret in your family is toxic. No matter what it is. It cuts you off from the outside world and makes you always feel like you have to put on an act. So my hope would be, at least within the family and closest friends, that perhaps the girls are feeling closer to outsiders than they ever have before. Finally able to share a burden they have been carrying, and let the “village” in to help them.

          Again, assuming all our rampant speculation is correct.

          On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 1:50 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I was wondering about that, whether it would damage her daughter’s debut. Here in the US, the daughter would go on a media tour speaking with serious outlets like the NYT, maybe a People magazine cover, discussing her mother’s alcoholism and also announcing her new foundation to fund addiction research. And if anything that would give the daughter’s career a boost. But that wouldn’t be the playbook in Bollywood, I think.

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      • I imagine it wouldn’t just be her daughters’ careers, but their marriage prospects. This is the exact kind of thing that makes it hard to find a “good” family willing to marry you. Not just her daughters, but every young woman in the Kapoor family would be tainted. Sonam is (supposedly) moving towards an engagement with a Delhi businessman, this is the kind of scandal that could make her boyfriend’s family back out.

        It’s why Karisma Kapoor ended up with her drug addict horrible husband. Her parents were separated and not good about hiding it, which (supposedly) was part of the reason the Bachchans called off her marriage to Abhishek last minute, and she was stuck marrying a really not great person.

        Of course, my hope would be that the family goes public and tries to change the conversation and assumes that their daughters will find wonderful people who love them no matter what and don’t care about scandal. But based on past stories, that seems unlikely.

        On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 1:35 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Indeed. And the groom is a cousin to Jhanvi and Khushi (I believe) which is close enough that they probably have to cancel the honeymoon and everything else to be at the funeral. So it’s not just the one day, but this whole happy newly married time that will be shadowed.

            On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 2:03 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I think you’re right about what happens in middle class families but I don’t really think it applies to high society where drug and alcohol use is rampant.

          I don’t the Bachchans had a problem with Karisma. They dated for something like 6 years and the Bachchans proudly announced their engagement and welcomed Karisma into the family. Things broke up after that and the gossip is that it had to do with Babita wanting Amitabh to promise a certain part of his inheritance to Abhishek since he was considered a failure as an actor. She wanted to avoid what happened to her and Randhir Kapoor. This was unacceptable to the Bachchans. Sanjay Kapur was not some random person. He was Babita’s best friend’s son and extremely loaded. Karisma and him had been childhood friends. Babita is known to have a lot of power over Karisma’s life and it was really important to her that her daughter marry someone very rich and successful.

          Even if it turns out Sridevi was drunk and passed out, it doesn’t automatically make her an alcoholic. Maybe she wanted to relax and ended up having a little too much wine and took a bath and passed out. It can be just a freak accident.

          The details so far don’t make a lot of sense. If Boney wanted to take her to dinner, why would she take a bath anyway? Just filling the tub would take so long. A shower would be the normal choice. Boney apparently went in after 15 minutes and the body was already bloated with water? I think the media is being irresponsible and putting out too many false stories.

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          • Possible series of events that makes sense to me is that Boney surprised her in Dubai, found her in the middle of getting drunk, they had a fight, she went into the bathroom to cool down, he noticed she wasn’t responding to him after a few minutes and opened the door to find her. The idea of them talking for a while, her going into the bathroom and not responding to him, sounds like a fight to me. And it also I think happened shortly after he arrived? Which could mean that he interrupted her while she was already drinking.

            That’s even without thinking she may have been alcoholic, she could have just been drinking when he surprised her because she was drinking, not because it was part of a pattern.

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          • I found even the fact that Boney returned to Dubai kind of weird. I know celebrities are used to flying around a lot but even so, why return to India only for a day or two and then fly back again to “surprise” her? This is a long married couple, not some little teens who are dying to have some time together.

            Perhaps she did have some alcohol issue and Boney was already afraid of leaving her alone for too long. He may have returned to India for some work and gone back again to keep an eye on her as much as possible.

            This whole “surprise” dinner just sounds bizarre. It just doesn’t seem like a normal thing to do.

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          • Yeah, I think another commentater suggested that, and the more I think about it, the more reasonable it seems. Alone in Dubai in a hotel after a big stressful family event would be a trigger for someone with even the mildest substance abuse problem. And if that is why Boney arrived, then finding her already under the influence, fight, storm off to bathroom, would be a very predictable sequence of events.

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  4. Even while saying “just speculation, no proof”, see the kinds of speculations flying around here. From “alcohol was found in the body” (no amount specified) to assuming Sridevi had a substance abuse problem, really?

    As for the larger matter of the family issuing regular updates to the media, nope, it wouldn’t stop the media frenzy, speculations, or wild rumor-mongering. They have a news cycle to fill! All else fails in the face of that voracious demand.

    And actually, even the initial announcement of “cardiac arrest” (not heart attack) was questioned by many people, simply because most people confused it with a heart attack, which has a much higher probability for a person to recover from. I think the main factual basis for speculation then and now was that Sridevi was on her own for two days, and the subsequent possibility that she died alone. Your initial post on this was headlined “Too big to ever really die.” Perhaps that should be amended to “Too big to ever die without questions, rumors, and speculations.” I have read many wild speculations even before the autopsy report came out (when it was a “cardiac arrest”), which in a way I am glad you are not dignifying by mentioning, since the motive behind them seemed to be to somehow cast Sridevi in a negative light for dying.

    Even last night, when I read about the public prosecutor holding the body pending an investigation, the whole thing reminded me of a very unfortunate and painful experience of a friend of mine in Mexico. The husband and wife went to Mexico for a vacation, they were walking along the beach when a “rogue wave” came and swept them out to sea. The wife was swept out, but some other people on the beach managed to grab hold of the husband and barely prevent him from being swept out, too. He was sufficiently injured by the wave to require hospitalization. So, while dealing with his own injuries, and the shock of realizing that his wife was gone without trace, he had to face a murder investigation by the Mexican police, because the law in Mexico is that, if a death is reported without a body being present, it is presumed to be foul play, and as you said, the husband is the prime suspect. His brother actually had to hire an attorney from L.A. to deal with it all so his brother could be released from the hospital and come home. Trauma on top of trauma. When I read about the Dubai goings on, I immediately suspected that a similar law might have been triggered there (person dying alone with cause unknown), and, because of Sridevi’s celebrity, the authorities are being extremely thorough to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s in their final report. Very painful and exhausting for the family, as you noted, but ultimately to their benefit.

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    • My hope is that the full details come out fast enough that the speculation is over taken. One thing I am thinking of is Robin Williams’ death. Which inspired an immediate flurry of discussions around depression and so on. And then, a few weeks later, his wife gave interviews discussing that he in fact had a terminal illness which would have killed him shortly (I believe within months). So it was not necessarily related to his depression, but rather a matter of choosing to die before he suffered more pain and would have died anyway. But there wasn’t nearly as much coverage of that since it didn’t come out until weeks later, and now Robin Williams is kind of locked in the public mind as “suffered from depression, killed himself” instead of “had a terminal diagnosis, chose when he wanted to die” which is equally worthy of discussion and very different.

      Right now, as you point out, the public conversation is quickly becoming about a possible alcohol problem. If the investigation is finished quickly, and made public, hopefully the truth (whatever it is) will over take this discussion before it becomes the only thing people remember.

      On Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 3:22 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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