THOUSANDS of grieving fans have gathered in Mumbai to pay respects to Sridevi, the Bollywood superstar who drowned accidentally in a Dubai hotel bath over the weekend.

The actress’ body was flown home late on Tuesday after investigators in Dubai closed their case.

Condolences have poured in since the death of the 54-year-old actress, who redefined the role of female leads in India’s largely male-dominated film industry.

Early yesterday morning, people had begun lining up along a security fence outside the private club near Sridevi’s home where the body had been laid out.

A string of cars ferried family members, Bollywood stars and VIPs through another gate as squadrons of private guards patrolled outside.

One mourner, a man who gave his name only as Prashant, arrived at about 7am, hours before anyone was to be allowed in. “No matter how long I have to wait, I will wait,” he said, clutching a small bouquet of flowers. “I’ll wait until I’m able to pay my respects.”

Sridevi, who used only one name on-screen, had been in Dubai for a wedding in her extended family when she died on Saturday.

After making her Bollywood debut in the 1970s, she helped revolutionise the role of female leads in an industry where the role largely consisted of a few songs and a handful of romantic scenes.