Tezaab financier among 7 killed in Mumbai fire

The fire is reported to have broken out after a short circuit on the twelfth floor of the building.

Written by Kevin Lobo | Mumbai | Updated: January 10, 2014 1:03 pm

Film financier and diamond merchant Dinesh Vasant Gandhi,65,and his wife,Devyani,65,were among those killed in the fire in the Mont Blac building at Kemps Corner on Friday. Their domestic helps,Bhairav,50,and Chotu,17,were also killed.

The remaining three victims have been identified as Chitaranjan Ramchandra Das,39,Sumita Shigwan,45,and Ajay Singh,40. While Das and Shigwan worked as domestic helps,Singh was a security guard of the building.

Gandhi is reported to have financed over 15 films,including Tezaab,Hum Se Badkar Kaun and Bezubaan,long before studios started putting in the money. While both Bezubaan and Hum Se Badkar Kaun were made by producer Pranlal Mehta,it was during the shooting of Bezubaan that Gandhi met producer-director N Chandra.

“He wasn’t in cinema for the money. He did not care about the budget. He gave me a free hand during the shooting of Tezaab. There was a time when people started poisoning his mind and telling him not to trust his money with a producer like me who was making his first film with big stars. But he trusted the people he worked with and didn’t go back on his word,” recalled Chandra,who directed the film starring Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit.

The fire is reported to have broken out after a short circuit on the twelfth floor. “Mrs Gandhi had gone downstairs for her usual evening walk,after which she took the lift to go to her flat. She was accompanied by a security guard,Ajay Singh,who was manning the lift. They must have reached the 12th floor when the power went out because of the fire alarm,and both got caught in the blaze,” said a security guard of the building.

The bodies of Shigwan and Das were found on the 16th and 26th floors respectively.

“The victims found on the other floors appear to have panicked and rushed towards the stairs. If they had remained in their rooms,there was a possibility of saving them. Unfortunately the smoke and heat from the flames killed them,and they died due to asphyxiation,” said Deputy Chief Fire Officer P S Rahangdale.

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(With inputs from Priyal Dave and Alison Saldanha)

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