To say that "he strode over the Hindi Film scenario like a colossus" would be inaccurate, considering he came in at the time of Amjad Khan, Amrish Puri, Kader Khan, Shakti Kapoor, and (slightly later) Anupam Kher. But his "unconventional" looks and heavily accented dialogue delivery, coupled with his versatility, won several admirers of his craft.
The post-1982 period in Hindi Film History has been one of mostly individual brilliance (unlike the Golden Era that was famous for collaborations between like-minded titans). And Sadashiv Amrapurkar definitely shone. If the cold menace he exuded as Rama Shetty (Ardh Satya, the spiritual sequel to ZANJEER), Chaturvedi (AAKHREE RAASTA), and most of all Maharani (Sadak) ran cold fingers down the audience's spine, the shayeri-spouting cop of Lashkar, the forgetful inspector of Aankhen, and the reluctant and bemused commissioner of Mohra regaled them to no end. And that's where he scored: deft touches of the brush that made ordinary characters stand out and be remembered after decades.
But it is probably the stage that will miss him the most. Even though I did not understand a single word of Marathi 10 years ago, he kept me on the edge of my seat with his riveting performance on that cold November night in Pune. Cinephiles and admirers of good actors, please try and get hold of a DVD/VCD copy of the Marathi play "Jyacha Tyacha Vithoba", a strong commentary on the socio-religious scenario in present-day India.
Rest in peace, Mr. Amrapurkar. You were so much a part of our growing-up years. As a character in one of your films said: "Jitna bada naam, utna bada kalaakaar (the longer the name, the greater the artiste)." We will vouch for it.