'Salman is my colleague, we have worked together. When something like this happens with your colleague, you are bound to feel sad. We were hopeful he won't be sentenced but now we hope he gets bail soon.'
Salman Khan arrives at a court in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Photograph: Stringer/ REUTERS
Many of his colleagues stressed that the actor had been punished because he was a star, and just a few pointed out that justice had been delivered.
Subhash Ghai said Khan was likely to appeal to a higher court.
'I am extremely shocked,' Ghai, who has worked with Khan in Yuvvraaj, tweeted.
The director said he had 'full trust in the Indian judiciary which has many other doors' for an 'appeal for final justice'.
He was 'most loved... for his human reasons too,' Ghai added.
Friends started tweeting and fans began to gather outside Khan's house in Galaxy Apartment, Bandra, north west Mumbai, soon after the verdict was announced.
A police van has been stationed outside his house since morning.
"I don't know how to react. I am numb. After seeing him battle these hearings year after year, we had somehow thought he would never go to jail. But this is so shocking. I hope he stays strong. His fans will always love him," said a young devotee, standing outside the actor's house.
IMAGE: Salman Khan, Mohnish Behl, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Karisma Kapoor in Hum Saath Saath Hai.
Khan was taken to the Jodhpur Central Jail after he was convicted of killing two blackbucks in 1998 in Rajasthan, where he was shooting for Hum Saath Saath Hain.
His co-stars in the film -- Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre -- were acquitted in the case, with the judge of the sessions court giving them the "benefit of the doubt".
Neelam's husband, actor-director Samir Soni, said that though he was happy for his wife, he believed Khan had been targeted for his star status.
"I have mixed emotions right now. I am happy for Neelam and the rest. It is a 20-year-old ordeal. I don't know why Salman was singled out. It seems his (star) status has come in the way," Soni told PTI.
IMAGE: Samir Soni with Neelam return from Jodhpur. Photograph: Pradeep Bandekar
Actor-Parliamentarian Jaya Bachchan said the punishment was harsh, and added that Khan had done "a lot of humanitarian work".
"I feel bad. He should be given relief. He has done a lot of humanitarian work," she told reporters outside the Parliament.
Actor Himani Shivpuri, who played Khan's aunt in Hum Saath Saath Hai, said he was a "nice individual" who was "near and dear" to her.
The judiciary's verdict, however, had to be respected, she said, adding that the blackbuck was an endangered species, sacred to the Bishnoi tribe.
"I feel if you are killing or shooting an innocent animal (and) it is against the law, then the law has every right to pass a judgement. I am saddened as Salman is a nice individual but if a nice individual commits a mistake, then he should be able to bear the consequences," Shivpuri told PTI.
Alok Nath, Khan's on-screen father in the film, was more cautious in his reaction.
"It is the honourable court's judgement, so we have to take it and respect it as they have studied the case for 20 years," he said.
Singer-writer Sona Mohapatra, without taking names, was sharply critical of the actor and the fraternity.
'So...will daddy say sorry on his behalf? What will the suck ups in the industry do? When's bail? When's the next block buster release? Dabangg 'concert' tour dates? Bigg Boss? Charity drives,' she tweeted.
Arjun Rampal tweeted to say the decision seemed a bit 'too harsh'.
'The law takes its course. Can't argue (with) it. But at this point in time I just feel helpless and my heart goes out to @BeingSalmanKhan and his family. Reason, cause the last thing @BeingSalmanKhan is, is a criminal. I feel this is too harsh. I do hope he gets the relief he deserves,' the actor said.
Filmmaker Anil Sharma, who directed Khan in Veer, said he hoped the actor would soon get bail.
"It's very disturbing. Salman is my colleague, we have worked together. When something like this happens with your colleague you are bound to feel sad. We were hopeful he won't be sentenced but now we hope he gets bail soon," he told PTI.