KUALA LUMPUR: The death of Bollywood superstar Sridevi Kapoor has touched fans and friends far beyond India.
Among them is MIC treasurer-general Datuk Seri S. Vell Paari, who is making arrangements to attend the screen legend’s funeral in Mumbai on Monday.
The body of Sridevi, 54, who died while attending her nephew’s wedding in Dubai on Saturday, will be flown back to her homeland tomorrow.
“My wife and I are hoping to catch a flight to Mumbai tonight, and arrive in time for the funeral,” he told NSTP when contacted today.
Vell Paari, who was a friend of Sridevi’s, said he was deeply saddened by the news and had hoped that it was a hoax.
"It was only last Thursday that she told me she wanted to come to KL for a holiday, so it is very difficult for me to accept the news. I was really hoping that it was one of those fake celebrity death hoaxes on social media.
"But, Sridevi’s brother-in-law Sanjay Ramasamy confirmed the news when I called him earlier today," he said.
Reminiscing on their friendship, Vell Paari said that he and Sridevi became fast friends when they first met in the 1980s.
"I was a teenager when we first met and became good friends.
"Fate works in funny ways. Roughly 29 years ago, a friend whom I consider my brother, Sanjay, married Sridevi’s sister, Srilatha Yanger. That strengthened our bond as friends," he said.
Vell Paari added that Sridevi was an incredible person, as well as a great motivator.
"(She was) a wonderful mother to her two kids and a great wife to Boney Ji (Bollywood film producer Boney Kapoor).
"She was also a great motivator, and I had even told her that she should come to Malaysia to give a motivational talk to Puteri MIC," he said.
Born Shree Amma Yanger Ayappan, Sridevi made her acting debut at 4 years old and went on to have a string of blockbuster hit movies in the Malayalam, Telugu, Hindi and Tamil film industries.
Sridevi was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, for her services in the film industry.