He was like a big brother to me. Off the sets, we were very close friends. But on the sets, he was the actor and I was the director. We were very professional. Still, thanks to our association, there was tremendous ease while working. He had a great sense of humour and would crack great jokes. He was our 'yaaron ka yaar.'
I did about 12 movies with him -- Aaghat, Aakrosh, Ardh Satya, Thakshak, Vijeta, Drohkaal, Dev, and the television serial, Tamas. Plus, the ones with Shyam Benegal. He was a director's actor.
He was very good in Aakrosh and Ardh Satya. He played a tough father to Om Puri in the latter. He was absolutely outstanding!
He was a very warm and compassionate human being, and had a typical sense of loyalty to friends. For me, he will always be a person with a great range. He did films in Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, Punjabi and English, besides Hindi films. He was a very versatile actor.
It will take a long time to come to terms with the fact that he is no more.
In the picture: Fardeen Khan, Amrish Puri and Amitabh Bachchan in Dev.
Inset: Govind Nihalani