Two Marathi actors, Anand Abhyankar and Akshay Pendse, died in an accident near Urse Toll Naka on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway on Sunday night. The two were travelling with Pendse’s wife Deepti, their son Pratyush, and the car driver. They were heading towards Mumbai for an early morning shoot that was scheduled for yesterday.
The accident took place after a tempo driver, who was on his way to Pune, lost control over the vehicle and rammed it into the car the deceased were travelling in after hitting a divider. While Pendse died on the spot, Abhyankar, Deepti and Pratyush were rushed Lokmanya Hospital in Nigadi where Abhyankar and Pratyush breathed their last. Doctors said while Abhyankar succumbed to chest and head injuries, Pendse and Pratyush died of head injuries. Several artists from Marathi and Hindi film industry were present to pay their last tribute to the deceased at the Vaikunth crematorium yesterday afternoon.
“Anand Abhyankar is yet another victim of miss management on the expressway. When I heard about it, I remembered various accidents involving artists. Renowned actress Bhakti Barve lost her life in one such accident. This is not an accident; this is a murder due to rash driving. All artists constantly travel as the profession demands them to visit several cities. These accidents lead to tensions and create fear in the minds of people. We have to do something for safety of the artists and all those who travel via expressway, otherwise accidents will happen and we will lose more and more lives, including artists.”
“The accident claimed three innocent lives. Though the accident will now be discussed for while trying to trace who was at fault, but fact is that we have lost good artists and friends,” Pushkar Shrotri, an actor, said.
Veteran actress Lalan Sarang said, “I still cant believe that they are no more.” “Abhyankar, Pendse and Me were working together in a daily soap Mala Sasu Havi. Thei deaths have shocked us. We have lost not only two characters, but two good friends,” said Asawari Joshi. She played the role of Abhyankar’s wife in the serial.
Sushant Shelar, actor present at the Vaikunth crematorium said “The accident took away two great artists and friend from us. Abhyankar was my good friend and guide in the industry were on the other hand Pendse was good friend.”
Close shave just a few days ago
According to well-known actor Girish Oak, Abhayankar almost lost his life a few days ago. He said that minutes before the bus he was travelling in met with an accident, he had exchanged his seat with the co-passenger. The co-passenger sustained grievous injuries in the mishap. “This time my friend wasn’t that lucky and the horrible accident claimed three innocent lives,” Oak said.
E-way actor deaths
>> Vihang Nayak died in an accident that occurred near Kalamboli on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway on June 9, 2008. He was heading towards Baramati for a film shoot. He was a part of renowned Marathi serial Awaghachi Sansar and had worked in films like Akrosh (1980) and God Only Knows (2004)
>> Bhakti Barve died in a road accident near Bhatan Tunnel on Pune-Mumbai Expressway on February 12, 2001. She was heading for Mumbai