Neeraj Vora – a multifaceted artist who should have been celebrated much more

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Neeraj Vora, who was suffering from ill health for a very long time, passed away early yesterday morning at a hospital in Andheri. Though Vora is best known for his comic roles in ‘Rangeela’, ‘Pukar’, ‘Dhadkan’ and ‘Bol Bachchan’ among others, he had several other facets to his personality. He was the writer of several successful films like ‘Hera Pheri’, ‘Ajnabee’, ‘Hungama’, ‘Golmaal Fun Unlimited’, ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’ and had directed ‘Khiladi 420’, ‘Phir Hera Pheri’, ‘Shortcut – Con Is On’ and the unreleased ‘Run Bhola Run’. He had a very successful collaboration with Priyadarshan as he went on to serve as the screenplay/dialogue writer on several of his films and even went on to direct the sequel to his hit comedy ‘Hera Pheri’.

He also composed the music for Ashutosh Gowarikar’s debut film ‘Pehla Nasha’ along with his brother Uttank Vora. ‘Pehla Nasha’ was also his first film as a writer. Despite doing films, he made ample time for theatre and was a much-celebrated face there. He wrote, directed, composed the music for and acted in several theatre productions over the last few decades.

Despite so many achievements, Neeeraj Vora maintained a low profile and that, perhaps, is the reason why his name is not taken in the same breath as people who have not even achieved half of what he has in his professional career. There are so many people in the film industry who try their hands at doing different things but in that respect, very few had the kind of success Neeraj had. Being the son of a Shehnai proponent, the late Pandit Vinayak Vora, Neeraj and younger brother took a gradual liking towards music. After collaborating with his brother on the soundtrack of ‘Pehla Nasha’, Neeraj decided to focus on writing and acting. Uttank went solo and did some good work in television, films and theatre. Neeraj had a good amount of success as a writer and an actor. He turned director with the Akshay Kumar-Mahima Chaudhary starrer ‘Khiladi 420’ which was a good action entertainer. He tasted success as a director with ‘Phir Hera Pheri’ which was one of the biggest hits of 2006. His subsequent film as a director ‘Shortkut – The Con Is On’ failed to register any impact at the box-office and his last directorial effort ‘Run Bhola Run’ remains unreleased.

According to a report on Hindustan Times, Firoz Nadiadwala had been looking after the ailing actor for over a year, mourned the death of his “brother and friend”.

Akshay Kumar mourned the filmmaker’s death on Twitter by writing: “One of the main reasons behind my foray into comedy, saddened to hear about the demise of Neeraj Vora a multi-talented man, writer, director, actor…a mini industry by himself, learnt so much from him. RIP.”

Paresh Rawal tweeted, “Neeraj Vora – The writer n director of Phir Hera Pheri n many hit films is no more …Aum Shanti.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted the following: “Saddened by the demise of Neeraj Vora. An energetic and creative personality, he will be remembered for his films and warm nature. My thoughts are with his family and admirers in this sad hour.”

Neeraj Vora passed away leaving behind a rich legacy of work and memories behind him. May his soul find peace.

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