Malayalam actress Manju Warrier and members of a film crew, who were stranded in a village near Manali in flood-hit Himachal Pradesh, have been rescued and are being shifted to a base camp.
According to Border Road Organisation commander Col Umashankar, the crew had been camping for the past two weeks at Chhatru, a scenic hamlet around 80 km away from Manali, for the shoot of a film. It was only last week Manju had begun shooting in the Himalayas for the film directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan.
The movie, reportedly titled 'Kayattam', is Manju's first association with Sanal. Sanal's 'Chola' was recently selected for the competition section of the Venice Film Festival.
The team had to walk 22km from the village in Lahaul Spiti district to reach the nearest base camp. Mobile networks were down in most areas of Manali and Lahual Spiti, making it impossible to contact them.
Sources said the team is safe and the weather is improving. Besides the cinema crew, nearly 200 people were also stranded at the place due to inclement weather and there was a lack of transport and communication facilities.
Manju had earlier managed to contact her brother Madhu Warrier on phone and told around 30 people in her team are stuck at Chhatru.
She had also said her team is left without food for the coming days and that the place had been cut off from the rest of the world.
Union Minister V Muraleedharan had contacted Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur for immediate help.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said the actress and the crew had been rescued on Tuesday.
The 40-year-old actor is also a renowned classical dancer.
Manju made her acting debut in 'Sakshyam' at the age of 17 in 1995. She is known for her roles in 'Sallapam', 'Ee Puzhayum Kadannu', 'Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakalathu', 'Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu' and 'How Old Are You'?
At least 28 people died and 22 were missing in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab after heavy downpour on August 18, while a flood alert was sounded in parts of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh as Yamuna and other rivers were in spate.
Dileep calls up Hibi Eden, asks to help the crew
Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden on Tuesday claimed that actor Dileep had sought for government intervention to rescue the crew.
Hibi Eden in his Facebook post revealed that Dileep, former husband of Manju, had called him and asked to help the crew. Eden had then approached Anurag Thakur, Union Minister and Lok Sabha MP from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh.
Eden then stated that Thakur assured him all help to deploy a rescue team immediately.
Actor Dileep was married to Manju Warrier and the couple has a daughter. They had filed for divorce in 2014 and it was granted in January 2015. Currently, Dileep is married to another actress Kavya Madhavan and they have a child.