Friend, mentor, excellent human being and real royal of Hindi cinema - that is how Bollywood remembers Feroz Khan (pictured left), the filmmaker-actor who died after a year-long battle with cancer.
Writer-turned director Anees Bazmee, who directed Feroz Khan in his last film "Welcome" in 2007, is "heartbroken" to hear of the death.
"I have come back to Mumbai this morning and got to know about his death. It is very sad and I am heartbroken. He was very close to me and an extremely good human being. I used to be in regular touch with him," Bazmee told IANS.
"Welcome", which was a massive hit, was a special homage to Feroz Khan's stylish on-screen persona through his character Ranbir Dhanraj Xata (RDX).
"Nobody knows that he was not willing to work in 'Welcome' but he loved my previous film 'No Entry' and Fardeen's (Feroz Khan's son) role in it so much that we became very good friends and he agreed to work in the film just for me.
"But he also asked me to make sure that his style was kept intact in the movie, as he has always done roles with oomph and glamour and that's why I even gave him a line 'Abi hum zinda hain' in the film, which he infused life into," said Bazmee.
Beauty queen-turned-actress Celina Jaitley, who was launched by Feroz Khan in his home production's "Janasheen" (2003), headed to Bangalore on Monday to pay her last respects.
"Farewell my friend, my mentor... The many things we talked about... The many things I learnt from you are with me as my courage, you have gone but the love and support you gave me remains as a part of my heart... I wait for the day we will meet again back in god's hand where it all began. Love always, your 'Celine'," Celina told IANS through an SMS.
Feroz was also remembered by music composer Anand Raj Anand and writer Kamlesh Pandey for launching new talent.
Apart from Celina, he introduced Meghna Kothari and his son Fardeen in "Prem Aggan" (1998) and Vicky Arora in "Yalgaar" (1992) to name a few.
"He was a very stylish and straightforward person. He was principled and loyal to people. He always helped people with talent and made them famous. He did not just go for established names, which was a great thing in him," said Anand.
"He gave me confidence when he signed me for 'Janasheen' and now we were working together on the remake of 'Qurbani', but it is so unfortunate what has happened," he added.
Said scriptwriter Pandey, who wrote the dialogues for "Janasheen": "He was one of the royals of our cinema. Everyone knows how to make money, but very few know how to spend it and he knew that style exactly. He was an excellent friend, a great human being and he used to treat people very well.
"He also enjoyed good writing a lot. He was someone who had his own personality. The way he shot his films, his music, everything was great. He also looked for new talent," he added.
Feroz Khan is survived by actor son Fardeen, 35, and daughter Laila Rajpal.
Indo-Asian News Service
For daily celebrity news updates sign up for our newsletter www.masala.com/newsletter