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Bathtub, wine, drowning Sridevi: A successful woman’s death unleashes the worst in TV news

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In the first 24 hours, everybody was a doctor analysing her diet and fitness. Then came the opportunity to be Sherlock, as news emerged of Sridevi’s accidental drowning.

There’s nothing like a celebrity death to bring out the worst in Indian TV news channels. Bathtub, wine glass, conspiracy theories, insinuations of murder – the news channels had it all. Not for a moment did the TRP-hungry news channels think of how insensitive this would be to Sridevi’s family.

Bank scams by Nirav Modi and others, the hit-and-run that killed nine schoolchildren allegedly committed by a BJP leader in Bihar, protests by farmers – all these stories and more were pushed aside. The prime time agenda was the bathtub.

It was the sort of evening about which TV executives smugly say, “People watch this and then blame us.” It’s easy to blame viewers after having exploited their morbid fascination with the private lives of celebrities.

Glamorous actress, who looked much younger than her age, dies of cardiac arrest in a bathtub – did someone say bathtub? That was masala enough.

Maut ka bathtub (Bathtub of Death),” declared Aaj Tak.

Screengrab from Aaj Tak

On social media and TV alike, there was stuff blaming her – her crash diets, alleged plastic surgeries, death despite staying fit, and so on. Somehow Sridevi did something to bring about her sudden demise, since successful women are often evil.

Until this point, everybody was merely a doctor. Then came the opportunity to be Sherlock as news arrived that the medical examination had found Sridevi died due to accidental drowning. Lo and behold, her body had “traces” of alcohol. All hell broke loose.

Sooner than you could spell her full name, Sridevi went from being a respected artist of an innocent era to a character who had died “mysteriously”.

Every aspect of Sridevi’s life and death was now going to be examined in microscopic detail. And husband Boney Kapoor’s too.

ABP News led the pack of hungry vultures, their worst being a tweet that read, “Sridevi’s last 15 min in the bathroom. Watch at 7:00 pm on ABP News.” The channel had various questions. When Sridevi didn’t drink, why was she drinking that evening?

An anchor stood beside a bathtub with a wine glass in a simulated luxury bathroom, with Sridevi’s photo in the background. There was a photo of Sridevi drinking from an old movie. Traces of alcohol was somehow the same as being drunk.

Screengrab from ABP news

The channel was happily reinforcing every stereotype of old Hindi movies – bad women drink, and women can never hold their drink.

Screengrab of ABP News report on Sridevi
Screengrab from ABP News


Competitors Times Now and Republic were united in getting the same hashtag to trend:#SriDeviDeathMystery.

Just because it was presumed before the medical examination that she had died of a cardiac arrest, Times Now had reason enough to find the death suspicious, and to hold a TV inquiry on it.

“Is Sridevi’s death an open and shut case?” The channel debated with its panel of experts, all of whom happily speculated, for or against conspiracy.

That a copy of the medical report said she had died of “accidental drowning” was cause enough for everyone to speculate further. It could have been anything, but a typo.

“Death theory changes overnight,” said the ticker on Newshour. It went into great detail on the dimensions of the bathtub, comparing it to Sridevi’s height.

Screengrab from TV9 on Sridevi report
Screengrab from TV9 on Sridevi report

The Dubai Police had recorded husband Kapoor’s statement, the Press Trust of India reported late night from Dubai, in what seemed like regular procedure.

But for Republic TV, it was exclusive news that Boney Kapoor had been “grilled” for 16-18 hours, and even spent the night at the police station. That Boney had been “cleared” by the police was hidden, like a footnote.

‘Exclusive Top Sources’ in Dubai Police told Indian news TV of how the matter was being investigated and the CCTV footage was being watched “again and again.” Dubai’s Khaleej Times reported, “The police stated that there was no clear criminal motive with regard to her death.”

At some point, ABP News stopped pretending about sources providing them with information, and started running every bizarre rumour from Twitter with “social media” credited as the source.

More characters tumbled out like the Bigg Boss house. Amar Singh told Republic TV he ‘thought’ that the first call Boney Kapoor made after discovering his wife dead was to him. The channel ran it like gospel truth, making it sound suspicious: “Details of midnight call from Boney Kapoor.”

If everybody’s using Sridevi’s death for five minutes of fame, why should Amar Singh be left behind?

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  1. No all these what people assume n real fact is might be the drinks n water in bath tab when she falls on bathtab reactions takes in her body may be stuck or clot water n that alcohol blood reaction may stop oxygen inhaling n function of heard not able to function normay condition n due to less oxigen heart flow in heart by blood flow in her haeat get damage n slowly in few minutes totally heart function stop due to no oxygen n blood flow. Due this reason heart function fail n she died. Some one should near to her in this drunked case. No one care and due to neglected n their one path all near n dear people on that movement so we all lost the great ever beautiful actor’s srideve she will not come Soviet is painful each n every person of citizens of Indian around world. So due to neglence what will happan. See the real fact… So from hear afters no bath tab in any 3 or 5 star hotel. Or some lady n security should be in that bathroom door with alaram switch both in and out of that bathroom. N proper checking of watertab in bathroom. Just carelessness see what will happen.
    Any how we all lost the great n healthy actor srideve. One big question mark??? Is created in this should not come to anyone in feature. Let srideve should in in peace and born some where in Indian soil what we all citizen of India pray god… Iam Jayanth k Moro a vv near fan to srideve Madem. We lost her n just her film n etc will keep in touch for ever of we all indian ….. My no 9916028907. My name Jayanth kailas moro seshadripuram Bangalore….

  2. It seems a murder looking at the sequence of steps following up one after other ….

    First of all when all the family members who attended the wedding went back to india n also Boney Kapoor n Khushi both went back but no reason was shown that why Sridevi stayed back…did she had any shooting plan or any show or what was the reason she stayed back alone…

    Secondly just reaching back to Mumbai n just very next day going back to Dubai just to give a surprise doesn’t seem to be with out any logic….no birthdays no anniversary nothing n wat was the reason to go back very next day to surprise,wat was the reason for this sudden travel n surprise….

    Third thing is when after fifteen mins she didn’t responded from bathroom n how come a door broke by him…..normally five start hotels r quiet strong n thick n not easily be broke the lock or banged n broken thn how did Boney Kapoor do this ……

    Fourth thing is when he saw Sridevi in bathtub and he called his friend or may be when she didn’t open door n Boney Kapoor called his friend but till date no name or no person is shown in media or any where mentioned as which friend or wat was the friend name whom he called when Sridevi didn’t respond

    Fifth thing was she so much drank tht she was not able to handle her self n fell in the bathtub loosing her self and yes she was so high drank than how come Boney Kapoor allowed her to go in bath n didn’t stop her to go for bath as she was not able to hold her self also bcoz she was very much drank n if very much drank than only someone can fall in the tub but by falling in the tub can’t take someone’s life this way … it takes as a murder…

  3. The whole mystery is baffling. How could one die in bathing tub in unconsiousness. Dubai police is hiding thr true picture. The probe by dubai police is doubtful and raising various questions. CCTV footage must have been provided to India. Closing up the case is no way of satisfying the thunder of heart and mind.Dubai police should not play with sentiments of Indian. They must be empathetic and loyal to all.After all what will they get from hiding the culprit or from now onwards we have to belief that Dubai is not what we assumed.

  4. If foul play was involved in her death: Who could be ultimately responsible for her death and what motif would they (assuming more than one are involved) have?

  5. Death should be probed …the facts should be made public …mumbai police shd take the case in their hands …she was a legend for the whole country

  6. Show some respect TV channel n bloggers she entertain her for so many years! You people are trying to find out masala for TRPs shame on you! She died because we all have to die but unfortunately she died so young. May her soul rest in peace

  7. Bathtubs don’t have enough depth to be dangerous, you cannot drown in a bathtub unless someone push your head down. Other possibility is that someone spike your drink or give you drugs that make you unconscious and them put you in a bathtub.
    Drug overdose like Whitney Houston? This is also quite suspicious. Why would you overdose and go to have a bath instead of lying on you bed? Unless you die of overdose in you bed and your partner put you in the bathtub to make it accidental…
    Someone must have paid the Dubai police to close this case.

    • Huge sum has been paid to shut the case. It is planned. Death should be probed. Why did the husband return .It is unbelievable he invited her for dinner and she dies in 15 mts and that too in a bath tub

  8. Why has the Dubai officials closed this case so quickly? Why have they not shown any CCTV footage of her in the last 48hours of her death? There is a underlying truth about her death which is being covered up by Dubai. The truth may not be revealed today but in the future it will be! shameless for DUBAI OFFICIALS!

  9. Simply does not interest me: How she died. Even if a murderer comes and confesses to me that he murdered her. Or the husband tells me second by second how it panned out or I get CCTV footage of every place she was in. Interests me Zilch. Zero. She was lovely, and she died. She was a part of our youth. She is gone. And that’s where grief starts and everything else goes mute. I don’t know even one of these journalists. They are all as ugly as the next one. Sridevi was beautiful. So they can keep showing. Noones watching. Noone. Nada.

  10. All important questions, whatever the motive of those asking these, but they remain important questions and yet remain unanswered. The Dubai police report is as good as a bad joke – and if you want people to believe the official story (which has changed more than once), then you are not interested in truth but only in your own 5 minutes of fame.

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