Film producer, wife die in blaze, narrow escape for son, daughter

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 15 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Dinesh Gandhi, 65, was home in flat 1202 on the 12th floor of Mont Blanc building in Kemp's Corner on Friday evening with two help when the fire broke out next door. All three were charred to death in the blaze that finally claimed seven lives, including Dinesh's wife of 38 years, Devi.

Devi, 64, was taking a walk in the compound when the flames leaped out, said witnesses. Panicking, she rushed up in the lift with the liftman. The minute the lift doors opened on the 12th floor, fire engulfed both.

But fate was kinder to the Gandhis' children. Son Milin, who is single and lived with his parents, had stepped out of the flat. His sisters, Aarti and Rakhi, are married and live separately. Recently, Aarti had contracted dengue, and her parents had asked her to come to their home to recover. She couldn't, and it proved a life-saver.

Gandhi was a film producer and diamond merchant who financed marquee Bollywood movies such as Hum, Tezaab, Tiranga, Kranti, Armaan and a few dozen more.

Living well and lending a helping hand were what Dinesh did best, recalled friends and family members. In a little-known movie, Delhi Durbar, when an artiste did not arrive on time, he offered to chip in to perform the role of the emperor's son. This short act in the movie he financed almost encapsulated everything about his life. He was fond of cars and watches, but was always available to help, said friends.

Devi was with him till the end, Aarti told TOI. "My mother has always supported my dad and the two have been each other's support system. In my dad, I lost my best friend."

Gandhi started his career in the diamond business. He used to import and export diamonds and pulled in his brother, Kishore, who was in the pharmaceutical business. A few years on, they started financing movies, which their father and uncle were earlier into.

"My brother has always helped people, never harmed anyone. Not just me, there are so many people who would trust him blindly," said Kishore. The family hails from Mahuva in Gujarat but the two bothers have never been there. "Mumbai is home," Kishore added. Over the past few years, Gandhi only partially financed movies. He operated his diamond business from his office at Prasad Chambers in Opera House.

In the diamond market, Gandhi is spoken of highly. Ashok Gajera, owner of Laxmi Diamonds, said: "In this market, you will find very few people without an outstanding debt to pay. Dineshbhai is one of those who owed nothing to anyone here."

(With inputs by Yogita Rao)

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