New Delhi: Bollywood celebrities have expressed their heartfelt condolences over the demise of former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Praising Vajpayee's openness and his skills as an orator and poet, celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Rajinikanth, Priyanka Chopra, and Paresh Rawal paid their tributes minutes after Vajpayee's death was announced.
The Badshah of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan took to his official Twitter handle and penned down a heartfelt message for Vajpayeeji. The King Khan said that he considers himself lucky to have got the opportunity to meet him and have had Vajpayee's influence during his growing-up years.
"My father used to take me for every speech that Vajpayee made in Delhi when I was growing up. Years on I had the opportunity to meet him and spend lots of time discussing poetry, films, politics and our ailing knees. I also had the privilege of enacting one of his poems for the screen. He was fondly addressed as 'Baapji' at home. Today the country has lost a Father Figure and a great leader," he wrote.
Reciting one of his poems, veteran actor Anupam Kher posted a video of himself thanking Vajpayee for his life lessons."I'm saddened to hear the demise of a great statesman Shri.Vajpayee ji. May his soul Rest In Peace," wrote superstar Rajinikanth.
Actor and politician Paresh Rawal also took to Twitter and wrote, "He had no enemy in politics because he believed that in politics there are no enemies...only opposition! RIP- Atal Ji. Aum Shanti."
"Former Prime Minister Shri #AtalBihariVajpayee's visionary ideas and contributions for India were truly remarkable. The nation will always remember... #RIP. My thoughts and condolences to the family," tweeted global icon Priyanka Chopra.Other celebrities like Vivek Oberoi, Dhanush, Boman Irani and Randeep Hooda also mourned the demise of the former prime minister.
Bollywood actor Annu Kapoor, while talking to media, referred Vajpayee as the 'son of the Indian Motherland'. He added,"His memories will live forever and his life was an inspiration."
The 93-year-old BJP veteran breathed his last at 5:05 pm on Thursday, at Delhi's All India Institutes of Medical Science (AIIMS) following a prolonged illness.
Vajpayee, the 10th prime minister of India who passed away on Thursday evening, will be cremated on Friday with full state honour. The mortal remains of the former prime minister which is presently resting at his Krishna Menon Marg home will be taken to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters at around 9 a.m. Vajpayee's funeral procession will take place at Smriti Sthal at 1:30 pm.
Vajpayee, who led the National Democratic Alliance government from 1998 to 2004, was the first-ever member of the BJP to become India's Prime Minister.