The 14-year-old, famous as the ‘Rasna girl', had also acted in 'Paa' and Malayalam movies
All the eight persons from the city who had flown for a pilgrimage to Muktinath perished in the crash of Agni Air's Dornier aircraft at Jomsom in Nepal on Monday.
The victims of the crash included 14-year-old child actor Taruni Sachdev who had acted in the Amitabh-Bachchan-starrer Paa and had become a household face as the ‘Rasna girl' for her ‘I love you, Rasna' advertisement.
She and her mother Geeta were among the others, including a brahmachari of the city's ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple to have lost their lives. All the victims were associated with ISKCON temple.
The names of the deceased from Mumbai are: Taruni Sachdev, Geeta Sachdev, Shiv Arora, Menaka Arora, Kamal Arora, Mukesh Ashok Handa, Rakesh Ashok Handa and Krishna Chaitanya Das.
“All the devotees are in a state of shock here. They had all gone on a pilgrimage. We are ourselves trying to contact the family members of all the unfortunate devotees, but they have gone to Kathmandu to claim the bodies,” an official of ISKCON, Juhu, told The Hindu on Tuesday.
Ms. Taruni's demise was mourned by the Hindi and Malayalam film industries. She had featured in many advertisements and had acted in Malayalam movies Vellinakshatram and Satyam.
“SHOCKED and very saddened to hear about the Nepal plane crash. Lost 1 of my cutest co-stars. Little Taruni Sachdev from PAA. Speechless.....[sic],” actor Abhishek Bachchan tweeted on Tuesday.
“Just reading that Taruni Sachdev the girl child artist in Paa, has perished in Nepal plane crash...please God may this not be true [sic],” actor Amitabh Bachchan had tweeted earlier that day.
Sources said her father Haresh had gone to Kathmandu to claim the bodies of his daughter and wife. He had earlier told reporters that he would not like to talk to the media at a moment of private grief for the family.
The Aroras, who went for the pilgrimage, were joined by their teenaged son Shiv (19), for a trek in the Himalayas. Kamal and Menaka Arora left behind two daughters. “Both of them are under shock. Both are working, the elder daughter is married,” a family friend who knew the Aroras for the past 16 years told The Hindu.
Kamal Arora ran a business of imitation jewellery. “Menaka used to help him in the business. Shiv was studying in college,” the family friend said. The couple were in their 50s. Their exact age could not be ascertained.
R.K. Mehra, 78-year-old father of Menaka Arora, could barely speak of the loss. “What do I say? Our entire family has suffered a huge setback. My sons have gone to Kathmandu. Nothing remains now. I don't want to share anything,” he said.
Mukesh and Rakesh Ashok Handa were regular visitors at the city's ISKCON temple. The Bandra youths left behind their ageing parents. “They were devout bhaktas of Swamiji,” a devotee at the temple said. Their father went to Kathmandu on Tuesday.
Krishna Chaitanya Das, the 30-year-old brahmachari of the Charni Road ISKCON temple, had renounced worldly pleasures and taken to brahmacharya around six years ago. “He originally hails from Hyderabad. He was staying at our temple since the past six years. The temple informed his family after the accident. His brother and father have gone to Kathmandu,” an official of ISKCON said.
Devotees said that after Krishna Chaitanya Das started staying at the temple as a brahmachari, he was known as Gaura Krishna.