Mumbai/Chennai: Calling him a man of great “grit” and “conviction”, Bollywood celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth, Lata Mangeshkar and Ajay Devgn condoled the demise of Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray on Saturday.
Bachchan, who had visited the ailing politician at his residence Matoshree recently, said it is hard to believe that Thackeray is no more. “I sat by his bedside for hours these past few days, a prayer in my heart, watching him struggling to breathe, but fighting. Each day he continued his struggle with a grit that was baffling even for the doctors on hand. “And just a couple of hours back, as I stand next to his still, peaceful, saffron draped body, it is difficult to imagine that he has left us!,” Bachchan, 70, tweeted.
In a hand-written note, Rajinikanth said, “Sri Bala Saab Thackeray was a great leader and a father figure to many, including me.. This is a great loss to all..”
“My heartfelt condolences to all his family members and followers all over the world.. My prayers for his soul to rest in peace at the feet of the Lord,” the actor added.
Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar said Maharashtra was “orphaned” by Thackeray’s death at the age of 86. “Hindu hriday samrat, param adarniya Shri Balasaheb Thackeray hum logon ko chhodke anant mein vileen ho gaye. Yeh satya hai ki aaj Maharashtra anaath ho gaya. (The king of Hindu hearts, Shri Balasaheb Thakeray left us for eternity. It is true that Maharashtra is orphaned today).”
Actor-producer Ajay Devgn said, “A man of convictions and a man of vision. A great leader. Rest in peace Balasaheb.” Director Ram Gopal Varma, whose Bachchan starrer Sarkar was loosely based on Thackeray’s life, tweeted, “...can’t ever forget the hug the real Sarkar gave me when he saw reel Sarkar... Bala saab was a true epitome of power in every sense of the word.”
Dharmesh Tiwari, president of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees, one of the leading employee unions in the film industry, said, “We have requested all film and television producers not to hold any shootings as a mark of respect.”