It was 3AM in the morning of February 25 when the death of iconic actress Sridevi sent shock waves down the spine of the entire film fraternity. The cause of the death was revealed as cardiac arrest by a publication and within minutes the entire media woke up from its slumber at midnight in a hurry to publish the copy. What started as a hardcore factual copy had become a stuff of sensationalism by the morning as ‘vultures’ tried to pry upon her body. It seemed as if the media was just not happy with her dying of a cardiac arrest (which is pretty common even in young age) and was always hoping for a twist in the tale.
As we waited for the autopsy reports to be made public, media had already started speculating as to what might have caused a cardiac arrest in a young lady. How her multiple surgeries and efforts at looking young might have resulted in her death. Several reports hinted at a conspiracy by presenting an alternate theory that the legendary actress’ body was found by hotel staff and not Boney Kapoor as was being claimed by the family. Media’s desperate efforts to get a statement from the bereaved family were nauseating as they did not even get to mourn the death of their beloved kin. So much so that Boney Kapoor’s spokesperson had to come out and urge the media to contact him in case of any inquiry instead of directly calling him.
The much-desired twist in the tale of Sridevi’s death finally came with the release of the autopsy report which claimed that the actress died of accidental drowning and not cardiac arrest as the reports had suggested earlier. Within minutes headlines like ‘Jhoothe hain Boney Kapoor’ started flooding the Indian channels. By the evening, the coverage had got even more disgusting with Indian media trying its best to prove by hook or by crook that it was impossible to drown in a bathtub. We saw prime time anchors reporting with visuals of computer-generated graphics of bathtubs with the body of Sridevi lying in it. One channel even took the trouble to put a graphic of Boney Kapoor peeking into the bathtub following her death. Regional channels were even worse with one anchor jumping into a bathtub in an effort to try and prove that it was almost impossible to drown in one.
The most unfortunate part is that the media has made a ‘tamasha’ of the death of an actress who was always so guarded about her personal life and tried to keep it away from the glare of media. The film fraternity has condemned the sensational coverage, however, in the race for higher TRPs, it does not look like anybody can stop it from overflexing its muscles.
This afternoon, Sridevi was laid to rest in Mumbai with full state honours and it is high time the sensational coverage breathes its last too! RIP Sridevi!