File photo: Bollywood actor-writer Kader Khan Image Credit: PTI

Actor and screenwriter Kader Khan, best known for penning some of the most powerful dialogues in Bollywood films, died on December 31 following a prolonged illness. He was 81.

Khan was admitted to a hospital in Canada and his son Sarfaraz confirmed that the actor died.

“My dad has left us. He passed away on December 31 at 6pm as per Canadian time due to prolonged illness. He slipped into coma in the afternoon. He was in the hospital for 16-17 weeks,” Sarfaraz said.

“The last rites will be performed here in Canada... We have our entire family here and we live here so we are doing it. We are thankful to everyone for their blessings and prayers,” he added.

Khan had developed breathing issues and doctors had reportedly transferred him from regular ventilator to a BiPAP ventilator.

As per reports, he was suffering from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a degenerative disease that causes loss of balance, difficulty in walking and dementia.

Born in Kabul, Khan made his acting debut in 1973 with Rajesh Khanna’s ‘Daag’ and has featured in more than 300 films.

He also wrote dialogues for more than 250 movies.

Before becoming an actor, he had written dialogues for Randhir Kapoor and Jaya Bachchan’s ‘Jawani Diwani’.

As a screenwriter, Khan frequently collaborated with Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra.

His films with Desai include ‘Dharam Veer’, ‘Ganga Jamuna Saraswati’, ‘Coolie’, ‘Desh Premee’, ‘Suhaag’, ‘Parvarish’ and ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ and films with Mehra include ‘Jwalamukhi’, ‘Sharaabi’, ‘Lawaaris’, ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikandar’.

Khan’s frequent collaborator, actor Amitabh Bachchan, and others stars Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpayee and Arjun Kapoor remembered the actor for his contribution to cinema.

“Kader Khan passes away. Sad depressing news. My prayers and condolences. A brilliant stage artist a most compassionate and accomplished talent on film. “A writer of eminence; in most of my very successful films. A delightful company and a mathematician,” Bachchan wrote.

The duo worked together on blockbusters such as ‘Do Aur Do Paanch’, ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikandar’, ‘Mr Natwarlal’, ‘Suhaag’, ‘Coolie’ and ‘Shahenshah’.

“Rest in peace Kader Khan saheb,” Bajpayee tweeted.

Union minister Smriti Irani credited Khan for giving the audiences lots of funny moments.

“If you were a late 80s-90s kid who watched Hindi films, chances are you encountered the magic of Kader Khan. Never had the privilege of meeting him but if I ever had I would say ‘thank you for the laughter, thank you for your craft’,” she tweeted.

Calling him one of the finest actors of India, Kher said Khan will be missed for his brilliance.

“Kader Khan saab was one of the finest actors of our country. It was a joy and a learning experience to be on the sets with him. His improvisational skills were phenomenal. His humour was eternal and original. He was a wonderful writer. We will miss him and his brilliance,” he wrote.

“An actor and a writer who defined a generation. You’ve left a void in the industry that cannot be filled. RIP Kader Khan. My heartfelt prayers to his family,” Kapoor tweeted.

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar said: “Sad to hear the demise of the versatile writer, actor, comedian Kader Khan. He made us laugh and cry at the same time. He entertained us with his punchful dialogues. God bless his soul RIP Sir.”

Director Anees Bazmee tweeted, “Saddened to hear about #KaderKhan. Had the privilege to work with him as a writer in ‘Aankhen’, ‘Raja Babu’, ‘Shola Aur Shabnam’, ‘Bol Radha Bol’, ‘Mujhse Shaadi Karogi’ and direct him in my debut film ‘Hulchul’. RIP Kader Khan. You shall always be missed.”

Actor-comic Vir Das remembered Khan as one of the “few talents to straddle comedic and dramatic work so brilliantly for so long.”

Filmmaker Milap Zaveri said he has a huge regret that he never got an opportunity to work with the highly-regarded actor.

National Film Archive of India (NFAI) also paid tributes to the actor.

“We are deeply saddened by the demise of prominent actor-screenwriter #KaderKhan. Renowned for his effortless comic performances, he also wrote the striking dialogues for some of the most popular Hindi films like ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’, ‘Coolie’ and ‘Agneepath’,” a post on its official Twitter handle read.