Thousands of mourners thronged the streets of Mumbai under heavy monsoon rain to bid farewell and catch a final glimpse of Bollywood superstar Rajesh Khanna, who was cremated on Thursday.
His body was driven from his residence on an open-back trailer with his face showing from beneath a blanket of jasmine flowers. Crowds of onlookers, many under umbrellas, threw white petals as the funeral cortege passed.
Khanna, popularly known as the "first superstar" of Bollywood and the Hindi film industry's biggest heart-throb in his day, died on Wednesday after months of illness. He was 69.
He was cremated according to Hindu tradition in the northern suburb of Juhu during a private ceremony attended by family and friends including his estranged wife, two daughters and film star son-in-law Akshay Kumar.
Indian newspapers and television channels devoted their frontpages and news bulletins to the death, as tributes poured in from fellow actors, leading politicians and sports stars.
"King of Hearts," said the front page of the English-language tabloid Mail Today. The serious-minded broadsheet The Hindu ran the headline: "Superstar who turned romance, and even death, into a high art."
Khanna, who had been sick since April with an undisclosed illness rumoured to be cancer, passed away at his family home in Mumbai after being discharged from hospital on Tuesday.
His film debut came in "Aakhri Khat" (The Last Letter) in 1966 but his star rose with runaway hit "Aaradhna" (Worship) three years later, followed by a string of successes, typically as the romantic lead.
Naresh Jadhav, a 59-year-old employee of a state-run bank, skipped work on Thursday to accompany the funeral procession as it made its way through Mumbai causing huge traffic snarls on the city's famously congested streets.
"He was my hero, we all wished we could win over girls the way he did in his movies. A true icon," Jadhav said.
His prominent hits of the 1970s included "Kati Patang" (Broken Kite), "Amar Prem" (Everlasting Love) and "Anand" (Happiness), in which he played a man who eventually loses his battle with cancer.
In total, he sang, danced and acted in more than 150 films. His smile, twinkling eyes and soft, romantic demeanour charmed legions of besotted female fans.
Soon after his debut Khanna was getting letters written in blood by admirers and his car was said to be stained with lipstick wherever he went. There were even reports of some followers "marrying" his photographs.
One-time co-star Amitabh Bachchan, now one of Bollywood's biggest stars, also attended the ceremony on Thursday and he paid tribute to Khanna on his widely-read blog.
"The moment that anyone came to know that I was working with THE Rajesh Khanna, my importance grew," Bachchan wrote.
He said Khanna's last words, as recounted to him by a family friend, were: "Time is up, pack up."