Friends unite to cremate Indian comedian in Dubai

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Dubai, 25 Jul: Friends and colleagues of Indian comedian Manjunath Naidu, who died while performing on stage in Dubai, came together to perform his last rites, describing him as a person who went out of his way to help people, according to media reports.


The 36-year-old comedian suffered a cardiac arrest, collapsed and died on July 19 on stage while performing in front of a packed audience, who thought it was part of his act.


Naidu, who was from Chennai, was cremated on Wednesday at the Jebel Ali crematorium with the traditional South Indian rituals. Around 80 people gathered to pay their last respects to the comedian who was loved and respected in the theatre community.


Naidu’s parents had died earlier. His brother, who resides in Hong Kong was unable to attend the funeral due to a visa glitch, the Gulf News reported. His sister-in-law, who flew down from Hong Kong, was the only on from his family to attend the funeral.


Naidu’s friends divided themselves into teams to help with clearance and permissions liaising with Dubai Police, the forensics and mortuary officials to get clearances. One team worked closely with the Indian consulate to get the No Objection Certificate from Naidu’s brother to go ahead with the funeral.


Manju was our family member and it was important for all of us to come together and give him this final farewell, Miqdad Dohadwala, one of his close friends who was present at the event where Naidu died, was quoted as saying by the Gulf News.


Salman Qureshi, a stand-up comedian from Pakistan and Naidu’s friend, said, he helped people with counselling, financial and moral support. So many people from our community have turned up at the cremation not just because of his stand-up act, but also because he was a unique and special human being who went out of his way to help people.


Recalling Naidu’s last performance, his another friend told Khaleej Times that on the fated night, he managed to evoke hysterical laughter from his audience in the first few minutes.


“But in the ninth minute or so, he cracked a joke which didn’t land the way it should have and the punch didn’t come out. At that moment his panic attack kicked in and he began talking about his anxiety, which was when he paused, sat at the bar stool, and collapsed,” the friend said.



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