[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n the auspicious day of Vijayadashami (Dussehra), where everyone was celebrating, two famous people passed away and one is battling with life. Parmeshwar Godrej, a socialite, philanthropist and the wife of Adi Godrej, Chairman of the Godrej Group and Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty’s father, Surendra Shetty passed away on Tuesday. He was the manufacturer of tamper-proof water caps for the pharmaceutical industry. Shilpa’s father had even produced Indo-Chinese drama film for her titled, ‘The Desire’, which unfortunately remained unreleased.
Godrej designed costumes and look for actor Hema Malini in her film Dharmatma (1975) on the request of her good friend Feroz Khan who was the actor, director and producer of the same film. Godrej was frequently described as one of India’s premier socialites and power brokers. She was known for her work combating AIDS in India through the Heroes Project, an initiative she launched in 2004 with Hollywood actor Richard Gere and support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative. Before her marriage to Adi Godrej, she was one of the first air hostesses for Air India, where she had worked. Parmeshwar and Adi Godrej married in 1965, and have three children — daughters Nisa Godrej and Tanya Dubash who are associated with the flagship company Godrej Consumer Products, and son Pirojsha who leads the group’s listed realty arm. She had teamed up with acclaimed director Shekhar Kapur to launch a production house called ‘Starlight’ in 2000, which was preceded by co-producing the Merchant-Ivory production ‘The Perfect Murder’ in 1988.
Parmeshwar Godrej, who championed many social causes, was suffering from a lung illness. A multi-faceted person, Ms Godrej was also referred as a ‘style icon’ and was well connected with people in the world of entertainment and business. Not just the glamour world, her network of friends were from diverse fields and in a recent book, nobel laureate Amartya Sen had spoken richly about her, calling Parmeshwar Godrej a “brilliant conversationalist” and “wonderful company”.
Another departed soul is actress Shilpa Shetty’s father Surendra Shetty. His both daughters’ Shilpa and Shamita were extremely close to him. The man himself was full of life and one could usually see him stepping out with Shilpa’s mother at chosen social dos. As a father, Surendra was a great influence in Shilpa and Shamita’s lives, supporting the sisters to the core. Surendra also enjoyed the company of many of Shilpa’s co-stars especially Salman Khan who is known to have been quite close to the senior Shetty. Surendra was in news a few months ago, when he was duped by self-styled godman to the tune of a few crores. The baba was finally arrested after the family filed a police complaint.
Another celebrity who is battling for her life is Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. She continues to be under treatment and is being “constantly monitored by intensivists and the other consultants in the expert panel. Jayalalithaa was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the fifth time after Karnataka High Court acquitted her from disproportionate case on 11 May 2015. She was subsequently re-elected by the electorate of the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar (State Assembly Constituency) of North Chennai in the by-election held on 27 June 2015. In a landslide victory, she polled more than 88% votes of the 74.4% turnout, winning by a margin of over 1.6 lakh votes.
She was again elected as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 2016 Elections on May 19, 2016, with a margin of 39,545 votes by which she retained RK Nagar constituency after defeating DMK rival. Jayalalitha became the second Chief Minister after M. G. Ramachandran, the former CM of Tamil Nadu to be elected consecutively twice. In her victory speech, she commented on 19 May 2016, “Even when 10 parties allied themselves against me, I did not have a coalition and I placed my faith in God and built an alliance with the people. It is clear that the people have faith in me and I have total faith in the people.” She was called ‘Amma’ (mother) by her fans. She has huge fan following in Tamil Nadu. Devotion and connection of the fans with their beloved “Amma” is that, around 10 people died of cardiac arrest after her arrest news was broken. According to the data collected by AIADMK, 113 people across Tamil Nadu suffered from heart attack over the entire duration of their supremo’s conviction. According to an estimate, 41 people committed suicide during the period of Jayalalitha’s incarceration. Of this, 14 cases were of self-immolation while 15 people hanged themselves. Now, they are in hospital praying for their Amma. God forbidden, if anything goes wrong, Tamil Nadu will have tough time to cope up with the losses.
May God bless her with good health.
RIP for departed souls.
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