Veteran cinematographer Ashok Mehta lost his battle to cancer and breathed his last at Mumbai's Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital on Wednesday.
The 65-year-old director, who was diagnosed for lung cancer a year ago, was undergoing treatment since February. He is survived by his wife Neerja and a son.
The renowned lensman started his career with the film "Lal Kothi" in 1978 and has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry such as Subhash Ghai, MF Hussain and Rajiv Rai among others.
He has more than 40 memorable films to his credit, including Subash Ghai's "Ram Lakhan", "Kisna", MF Hussain's "Gaja Gamini", "Khalnaayak", "Trikaal", "Trimurti", Shashi Kapoor's "Utsav", Shyam Benegal's "Mandi", Shah Rukh Khan's "Chalte Chalte", "Dil Ka Rishta", "Gupt", and "No Entry".
He was given a National Film Award for Best Cinematography for his work in Aparna Sen's "36 Chowringhee Lane in 1982 and a Filmfare Award for Shekhar Kapoor's "Bandit Queen" in 1997.
He has also directed short films like "Attot Dor", "Ek Naya Bhor" and "Moksha" besides writing dialogues for films like "Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam".
Mehta was accredited for launching model-turned-actor Arjun Rampal to fame in 2001 film "Moksha" that stars Manisha Koirala. Mehta also cast him in Naresh Malhotra's film "Dil Ka Rishta" opposite Aishwarya Rai.
Earlier this week, Rampal visited the ailing photographer at the hospital. Following the news of his death, the actor is planning to make a documentary film on the cinematographer, who he considers as a mentor and father-figure.
He expressed his grief on Twitter, "Today the film industry has lost a Legend Ashokji Mehta, a mentor guide and father figure to me and so many of us within the fraternity. I will miss him tremendously. RIP Sir."
Several others in the film fraternity also expressed their condolences on the micro-blogging site.
Director Madhur Bhandarkar said, "Sad to hear about demise of the cinematographer Ashok Mehta who changed the vision of Indian cinema. RIP."
Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur wrote, "RIP Ashok Mehta DOP (Director of Photography) who taught me that my instincts were good, but only as good as my courage to follow them through. India's Greatest DOP."
"Sorry we never worked after Bandit Queen. Thank you for teaching me to be fearless in cinema," he added.
"Really saddened by the news of the death of Ashok Mehta - The man I learnt so much from, my guru," director Ken Ghosh tweeted.
Actress Dia Mirza said, "This man was a real Tiger! He would roar the word "Bachche"! Kind soul. Ace DOP. Ace Family man. Ace Friend. Ace Countryman. RIP Ashok Mehta."
Anurag Kashyap wrote, "RIP Chachu .. the nicest man I knew in Mumbai... ever inspiring and ever giving."
"Had the good fortune 2 work with Ashok mehta,revolutionary cinematographer..may God bless his soul," tweeted Farah Khan.
Actress Pooja Bedi wrote, "Last week Prabuddho (Prabhuddha Dasgupta) who shot my 'Kama Sutra' print campaign passed away and now the man who shot the TV advertisement for Kamasutra! RIP Ashok Mehta! An outstanding D.O.P."
Tisca Chopra wrote, "Ashok Mehta, friend who shared a love of the Persian language and inspiring human...miss you. Wherever you are will be lovelier because you are there."'
"From a CanteenBoy (in a filmStudio) to one of the greatest cinematographrs ever. RIP #Ashok Mehta," wrote a twitter user.
Sophie Choudry said, "RIP Ashok Mehta. Such an amazing man with a real love for life and an incredible technician. Was an honour to work with him in I See You."