'I lost my friend in the most bizarre way possible. We think of terror attacks as something that happens to others. Now, it's reached our doorstep.'
Kamal Sadanah is still shattered by the loss of his best friend Abis Rizvi in the Istanbul terror attack during New Year's celebrations.
"He was my dear friend, mentor and guide," Kamal says. "When the news of the massacre in Istanbul reached here, I didn't connect it with Abis although I knew he was holidaying in Istanbul. Then I read Sushma Swarajji's tweet which said two Indians had died in the carnage. It named Abis as one of the dead."
That's when it hit Kamal.
"I realised I lost my friend in the most bizarre way possible. We think of terror attacks as something that happens to others. Now, it's reached our doorstep," he continues.
The brutal murder has awakened memories of the grisly tragedy in Kamal's life.
"I lost my entire family in one night. I thought I had seen enough loss and tragedy in this lifetime. I was wrong. There's no end to the pain. Now I've lost my friend. Abis was engaged to my sister before she was killed," reveals Kamal.
In 1990, on Kamal's 20th birthday, his father, the prolific filmmaker Brij Sadanah (of Victoria 203 fame) shot his wife and daughter Namrata and finally, killed himself.
After Namrata passed away, Kamal and Abis anchored each other's shattered lives, and came closer than before. They continued to look out for each other.
"He was the kindest, most generous man. Why did he have to go in such a brutal way? He comes from a family of builders and educationists. Rizvi College is an educational temple for 2,000 students. Abis was from a family that believed in a better world, a better society. I guess he wasn't destined to see it," says Kamal.
Kamal's wife and children were holidaying in Sri Lanka when tradegy struck.
"As soon as my wife heard about Abis, she wanted to fly back with our children to be with me. But because of the New Year rush, they haven't been able to get tickets. They will join me soon. We need to be with Abis' wife and child. His son is only four years old. What do I tell him? That his father will never come back?"
In the picture: Kamal Sadanah and Abis Rizvi at the trailer launch of Roar: Tigers Of The Sunderbans, directed by Kamal and produced by Abis, in 2014. Photograph: Pradeep Bandekar.