It's a big loss for Indian theater. No one can ever replace him. He was a true legend and one of the biggest reasons behind theatre achieving such great heights in India.
He was everything that we needed. He was funny and eccentric but at the same time he cared for the people he knew. I was always intimidated by his personality. I remember he had a heart attack some years ago but that never slowed him down.
I started my career in theater in 1986. The first time I saw him was in Delhi and thought that he was
a very strict person. I always admired his work but I was very scared to go and meet him because he was such a big theater personality.
I came down to Mumbai in 1993 and three years later, I bumped into him at a party. I still didn't have the courage to talk to him. I was just completely awestruck and stood in a corner when he came up to me and said, "I saw your film Is Raat Ki Subah Nahi and you have done a wonderful job."
I almost collapsed. He took the initiative to break the ice and we'd kept in touch ever since.
He treated me as a friend and whenever we met, I always told him that I would love to cast him in my film and he would always laugh it off and would say, "You wont be able to afford me."
I met him for the last time in September at Prithvi Café in Juhu where I had gone to see a play. I regret that I never got a chance to work with him.