Roshan Taneja was to the art of acting what Lata Mangeshkar is to singing, or Sachin Tendulkar is to cricket. His death has shocked his star-pupils who range from Shabana Azmi and Shatrughan Sinha to Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam K Ahuja. Among Roshan Taneja's other students were were Anil Kapoor, Jaya Bachchan, Om Puri, Madhuri Dixit and even modern day whizkid Ranbir Kapoor. Roshan Taneja passed away on Friday, 10th May. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February and is survived by his wife Mithika and sons Rohit and Rahul. His last rites were done at Santacruz's crematorium. Govinda, Anil Kapoor, Ratna Pathak Shah, Raza Murad and Kanwaljit Singh attended the funeral. Here is what some of his famous students said about the acting guru.
“Roshan Taneja Saab was the vanguard of method acting in India. Not only was he a phenomenal teacher, he was also a great human being! Everyone who crossed his path would automatically love, admire & respect him. For me, he will always be the greatest acting teacher in India.”
“I am shooting in Jharkhand. It was my friend and colleague actor Kanwaljeet who informed of Roshan Tanejaji’s death. I am deeply pained. My mind races back to the time when I was a young nervous shy Hyderabadi girl who couldn’t speak Hindi or English, only Telugu. Taneja Saab helped me to overcome my shyness, he taught me Hindi. Everything I know about acting today I’ve learnt from him. He instilled a self confidence in me, which I lacked. I remember once I enacted a scene from My Fair Lady and Taneja Saab complimented me saying I was better than Audrey Hepburn. I didn’t know who she was (I had to ask my batch mate Shabana Azmi about it. But I knew it was a big compliment. While I was at the Pune Film Institute some of the greatest talents also trained with me under Taneja Saab’s tutelage: Rehana Sultan, Shabana Azmi, Shatrughan Sinha, Jaya Bhaduri, Radha Suluja… I wonder if the film industry knows how much it owes Taneja Saab. I met him for the last time six months ago. It always felt like family with him. I will rush to meet his wife and sons as soon as I return to Mumbai.”
“I’d like to believe I was Taneja Saab’s favourite pupil. He made me feel special. He boosted my confidence. He taught me everything about acting. The oratory skills for which I’m praised came to me through my many sessions with Tanuja Saab. He virtually dragged a Bihari boy out of hid provincial shell and made him a confident actor. Whatever I am an actor and an orator, I owe it to him.”
“Taneja Sir , the man who brought Acting Training to India , has not only taught me acting, he is also my Guru, mentor, he was also like a parent to me. Gave me a job as an acting teacher right after I passed out of class and that job made me not only an opportunity to continue learning even as teacher, the salary I got, also put food in my stomach and gave me strength to continue the struggle to get an acting opportunity. That also happened because of Taneja Sir. While I was an assistant teacher with him for Sanjay Dutt's training, Taneja Sir spoke to Dutt Saab and got me my first break in Rocky."
Vindoo Dara Singh:
“He was an excellent teacher who gave attention to every detail and would always keep a low number of students in a batch so nothing would ever miss his eye! He would tell when he thought the student was ready so it was not about exact time course it was till he felt you are completely ready so his dedication to teaching the art will stay unparalleled he always treated us like family.”
“Taneja sir was the first acting guru who introduced method school of acting in India, based on the Stanislavisky method of acting. The film industry was amazed when they saw the fresh acting talent performing so naturally, confidently and effortlessly in front of the camera in their debut making performances. This was all due to the mastery of Taneja sir, who infused confidence to face the camera without any iota of fear and hesitation. Therefore the results were positive and we all were received with open arms and respect by the film industry. The entire credit goes to Taneja sir for his meticulous training, which made his student rise and shine at the right moment.”