Hangal passed away here Sunday following a prolonged illness. He was 97. "He was an undying father figure in the world of theatre and Hindi cinema. He lived for 50 years in this profession only because he was disciplined and a thorough gentleman," the 67-year-old said in a statement.
"An actor who would bring theatre discipline on the sets of a film shoot too. He worked with me in 'Krodhi' and 'Khalnayak' and we used to call him 'Humble saab' not Hangal saab. He was a great soul indeed," he added.
Hangal stepped into the Hindi film industry in 1966-67 and worked in nearly 225 films. Known as a character artist, he is remembered for playing Rahim Chacha in "Sholay". Some of his other memorable movies include "Namak Haraam", "Bawarchi", "Chupa Rustam", "Abhimaan" and "Guddi". He was also seen in Aamir Khan-starrer "Lagaan" (2001) and Shah Rukh Khan's "Paheli" (2006).