Veteran actor Viju Khote passed into the ages in the early hours of Monday, September 30. He was 77.
The actor succumbed to multiple organ failure, and died in his sleep.
"He passed away at 6.55 am peacefully in his sleep at the residence. He has been unwell for quite some time," actor Bhavana Balsavar, his niece, told PTI.
Viju Khote came from a family of artistes.
His paternal aunt was the yesteryear legend Durga Khote.
His father Nandu Khote was a noted stage actor and worked in the silent era films.
His elder sister Shubha Khote is another well-known name in the Indian film industry.
While Durga Khote is credited as one of the first notable female actors in the 1940s, who starred in classics like Mughal-E-Azam and The Householder, Viju and Shubha went on to become popular for their impeccable comic timing.
Starting out in films in the mid-60s, Viju Khote gained prominence with Ramesh Sippy's Sholay in 1975, where he played Kalia and got one of the most memorable dialogues in the film.
He got his next unforgettable role in Rajkumar Santoshi's 1994 sleeper-hit Andaz Apna Apna.
As the affable Robert, the actor got a catchphrase which left a strong pop-culture footprint: 'Galti se mistake ho gaya.'
Viju Khote starred in around 300 films in his over five decade-long career in Hindi as well as Marathi cinema.
Interestingly, in 1980's Karz, he starred as Kabira's (Pran) left hand, literally called Baayan, with Durga Khote, who played lead actor Rishi Kapoor's mother.
Kapoor took to Twitter to remember his 'dear friend': 'Though much elder, we used to bike together along with sister Shobha Khoteji, when I was young. Passionate and well informed about American films. We will miss you. Viju kutte aahe? ('Where is Viju?').'
Viju Khote and Shubha Khote, along with niece Balsavar, featured in 1993's popular show Zabaan Sambhalke (based on the Mind Your Language series).
The actor continued to appear in commercial Hindi films, reprising his role of Robert in Santoshi's Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani.
In 2010, he had a special appearance in Rohit Shetty's Golmaal 3, as the quintessential Bollywood house help Shambhu Kaka.
Zoya Akhtar pays tribute to Viju Khote in this video:
Video: Rajesh Kakera, Photograph: Pradeep Bandekar