President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and several other political leaders Sunday condoled the demise of veteran actor Dev Anand, saying the Indian film industry had lost one of its most endearing heroes who personified the spirit of graceful ageing with dignity.
The president said Dev Anand was a legendary film artist as well as a producer, director and writer who adorned Hindi cinema with great distinction. 'He delighted Hindi cinema fans with his vivacious acting and as a popular romantic hero of his times.'
Recalling his movies, Patil said: 'He shall always be remembered by a generation of film watchers for his exemplified acting in the movies -- 'Taxi Driver', 'Munimji', 'Guide', 'Johny Mera Naam', 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna' and 'Des Pardes'.'
'In his passing away, the film industry has lost a creative talent and a man who personified the spirit of graceful ageing with dignity,' she added.
The 88-year-old actor passed away after a massive cardiac arrest in London.
The vice president said in his message that Dev Anand had an intense passion for films and continued with his artistic pursuits throughout his life.
'The intensity and dedication that he brought to his acting, direction and production were indicative of his passion for the medium and millions of his admirers and fans have appreciated his work. His absence from the world of cinema is a terrible loss,' he said.
The prime minister said in his message that the country had honoured the legend with Padma Bhushan and several other awards, reflecting the impact and place he made for himself in the hearts of the film going public.
'Dev Anand leaves behind an extremely rich repertoire of acclaimed films and his fans will forever remember the roles he essayed in film classics like 'Guide', 'Hum Dono' and 'Prem Pujari',' Singh said.
'In the passing away of the legendary actor, the Indian film industry has lost one of its most endearing heroes,' he added.
The prime minister said Dev saab, as the actor was known in the film industry, was a great artist who 'entertained generations for over five decades as the enduring romantic of Indian cinema'.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said the legendary actor symbolised the creative genius of Indian cinema and his films had moving lyrics and melodious songs.
'With his multi-faceted skills, he emerged as an iconic figure and evergreen star accepted across generations. As a filmmaker, he integrated modernism with traditional values,' she said.
'His films not only provided entertainment, they sensitised masses on contemporary social issues,' she added.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari said in his message that the death of Dev Anand marks the end of an era in the Indian film industry.
The iconic star is survived by his wife, former actress Kalpana Kartik, a son and a daughter.