Veteran actor A.K. Hangal dead

Actor A.K. Hangal (R) is seen receiving the Padma Bhushan award from President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam during an investiture ceremony of India's highest civilian awards in New Delhi in this March 20, 2006 file photo. REUTERS/B Mathur/Files

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Avtar Kishan Hangal, one of Bollywood’s best known character actors, died on Sunday, media reports said.

Hangal, in his late 90s, was on life support at a hospital in Mumbai, but was taken off the ventilator after doctors said there wasn’t much chance of recovery, his son Vijay was quoted as saying.

Known as the grand old man of Indian cinema, Hangal appeared in over 200 films in a career spanning five decades. He was last seen in a guest appearance for a television series on actress Madhubala.

Hangal, best known for his roles in films such as “Sholay” and “Namak Haraam”, was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2006.

“An era comes to an end. Theatre and film were enriched by him,” actress Shabana Azmi said on Twitter.

Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Tony Tharakan