Marathi film industry pleads for safer travel on expressway

Nana Patekar

Actors Bhakti Barve and Vihang Nayak died a similar death on the stretch earlier

Anguished over the death of Anand Abhyankar and Akshay Pendse, their colleagues from the Marathi film industry have blamed the accident on the lack of security measures and negligence on part of the expressway administration. They have demanded that the government should take steps to make travel safer on the busy expressway.

"We have to often travel at odd hours between Pune and Mumbai for shows, shootings and other engagements. We have lost our several colleagues to accidents on the expressway in the last few years. I don't think Sunday's incidence was an accident. It was a brutal murder caused by careless driving," said poet and lyricist Sandeep Khare.

"This has to stop somewhere. Today it was Anand and Akshay. Tomorrow it could be anybody else," said Khare.

Nana Patekar, too, blamed the driver of the tempo-truck for the accident. "If a speeding vehicle suddenly comes from the front and hits you; you can't do anything. There's a difference between speeding and reckless driving," Patekar told reporters at the Vaikunth Crematorium.

Actor Pushkar Shotri voiced similar opinion. "For how long should we tolerate this? It is high time the police and the expressway administration did something about it. They should take steps to ensure that the journey between the two cities is safer," he said.

The two actors died late on Sunday night when a rashly driven tempo-truck rammed into their car near the Urse Toll post on the Mumbai-Pune expressway.

In February 2001, well known film and threatre actor Bhakti Barve of Ti Phulrani and Jane Bhi Do Yaron fame was killed in a similar accident on the expressway. Five years later, in June 2006, actor Vihang Nayak lost his life near Kalamboli while he was on his way to Baramati from Mumbai. He was popular for his role in TV serial Avaghachi Sansar and was actively involved in the English theatre circle in Mumbai.

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