Amitabh’s providential yet frightening escape from Make in India fire

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 15, 2016 12:21 IST
Amitabh Bachchan performs at a cultural event 'Maharashtra Night' during the Make In India week in Mumbai on Sunday. There was a massive fire at the venue later. (PTI)

Amitabh Bachchan took to Twitter to describe his “providential escape” from a massive fire which engulfed the stage at a cultural event held at Girgaum Chowpatty seafront on Sunday night. A string of film celebrities and political leaders were present as part of the high-profile Make in India investment meet but there were no casualties. Bachchan, who was reciting poetry at the event, tweeted that he had a providential escape.

A massive fire broke out during a cultural event 'Maharashtra Night' at the Make In India week in Mumbai on Sunday. (PTI)

“What happened at event ? I just finished my performance got off stage and sat in my car and left .. just then fire on stage broke!” he wrote. He then went on to say that production wanted him to stay back and meet the Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

“Production was wanting me to stay & go back on to meet the CM .. had I gone back would have been caught in fire .. providential. But its God’s grace that immediate action was taken and the fire brought under control .. and no casualties !! But frightening !!” he wrote.

Bachchan had left the stage a few minutes before the fire started. The fire that broke out at around 8.22 pm was put under Control. All the VVIPs including Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Aamir Khan were safely evacuated to safer areas. The programme was later called off.

The blaze was brought under control in quick time by 14 fire engines and 10 water tankers with swift evacuation of thousands of people.

Read: ‘Make in India’ event fire audit begins, sabotage angle to be probed

The exact cause of the fire that broke out one hour after the entertainment segment had begun was not known but state BJP spokesman Atul Shah, who was seated in the front row, said the fire apparently broke out from beneath the stage. There were 500 artistes behind the stage and an estimated 50,000 people, several of them VIPs, had assembled at the venue.

Actor Vivek Oberoi, who was at one of the flanks of the stage and was getting ready to perform another event, said the flames leapt 40 to 50 feet high and there was threat of it spreading to nearby tents beause of the strong sea breeze but things were brought under control because of timely coordination between various agencies.

“I was watching a dance performance when this happened, then suddenly the stage was engulfed by smoke. I was backstage when this happened. Authorities were quick to react and evacuated people from there,” actor Isha Koppikar said.

Lyricist Prasoon Joshi said he was there at the event because Amitabh Bachchan was reciting his poem. “As soon as the recital got over, I left the venue and another event started and suddenly the fire broke out,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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