Mr Bhatt posted a tribute on Twitter.
Those were the days my friend , we they would never end !? Mahesh Bhatt (@MaheshNBhatt) April 27, 2017
We would sing & dance forever !!!!!! pic.twitter.com/1ohYp0hjqw
"When he was diagnosed with this ailment (cancer), I asked him he if was OK. He laughed," Mr Bhatt said. Vinod Khanna was taken to hospital on March 31, ostensibly to be treated for dehydration. A picture of him in hospital, looking worryingly gaunt and ill, went viral some days later, prompting speculation that Mr Khanna was in hospital with cancer. His son, actor Rahul Khanna, and hospital authorities insisted he was getting better.
Vinod Khanna returned to acting after a five-year break spent in the Osho Ashram. He later embarked on a very successful career in politics. "He was tough, lion-hearted and generous. He had the guts to risk his all. He was in full bloom when he decided to break his relationship with the movie industry and look for enduring fruits in the ashram of Osho. Of course it was not successful and he went into mild depression after he came back. However, he returned with that much vigour and energy as he had during his initial days. He always had the courage to reinvent himself," Mahesh Bhatt told NDTV.
Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra told NDTV, "I belong to the generation who was in school when Mr Khanna entered the industry. He defined how villainy could be cool. He was an actor who had guts. We couldn't take our eyes off him."
"None of the younger actors after him had that kind of swag and charisma that he had. He was at the top of his game. He was a genuine big actor, star and a man who was adored by cinema," Mr Mishra, director of acclaimed films such as Chameli and Hazaaron Khawhishein Aisi, said.
Vinod Khanna, who was very popular with his colleagues, was also known for his generosity, Sudhir Mishra revealed. "One of my unfulfilled wishes was that I would have loved to work with him. He helped people in the industry. He had given money to my younger brother to make a documentary. It is a big loss. The whole memory of childhood is gone," Mr Mishra told NDTV.
Actor Rishi Kapoor, who was seen with Vinod Khanna in Amar Akbar Anthony and Chandni, posted tributes to his late-co-star on Twitter, writing 'Will miss you Amar. RIP.'
Remembering the good times with you,Vinod. Thank you for being my friend. pic.twitter.com/hvZoYeQMEF? Rishi Kapoor (@chintskap) April 27, 2017
Mr Khanna's co-star and fellow BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha also tweeted, as did Tamil superstar Rajinikanth and actor Akshay Kumar, who recently won a National Award for playing a character based on real life naval commander K Nanavati, who was tried for murdering his wife's lover - Vinod Khanna also played the role in one of his early films, the Gulzar-made Achanak, which was a fictionalised version of the Nanavati case.
Sanjay Dutt, son of late Sunil Dutt who worked with Mr Khanna in Man Ka Meet (1968) said: "It is saddening to hear of the demise of Vinod Khanna ji. I have watched him as a child and throughout my life was always fascinated by his style and charisma. He was always a thorough gentleman. A big loss to the fraternity. He is and always will be family to the Dutts. May his soul rest in peace. My deepest condolences to Kavita Bhabhi, Akshay, Rahul and Sakshi."
Vinod Khanna, who was the Member of Parliament from Gurdaspur in Punjab when he died, is survived by second wife Kavita and four children. His two eldest sons, Rahul and Akshaye, are actors.