He was notable in the film industry as the rotund roly-poly actor who got the funny laughs in films like DAUD, AKELE HUM AKELE TUM, VIRAASAT, MANN, WELCOME BACK, and many more. But there was much more to him as a writer and director. He had directed hit films like KHILADI 420, SHORT KUT- THE CON IS ON and PHIR HERA PHERI which became a good franchise for the Nadiadwalas, who took upon them to give good medical help to Neeraj who was in a coma for the last few months as a result of multiple organ failure. Farooque Nadiadwala set up a hospital room in his own house to give him proper care and as his health was improving, everyone was happy but on Thursday, in the wee hours, he finally passed away at the age of early fifties. Neeraj started with Gujarati theater and wrote and directed many successful Gujarati plays. He first made PEHLA NASHA with Deepak Tijori as the hero and Ashutosh Gowarikar as the debutant director. He also acted in Ketan Mehta’s HOLI which was one of his earlier films. Then he appeared in many TV shows like ‘Choti Badi Baatein’, ‘Circus’. . He came into prominence with the successful RANGEELA which he wrote. After that he wrote many films like AKELE HUM AKELE TUM, JOSH, BADSHAH, CHORI CHORI CHUPKE CHUPKE, AWARA PAAGAL DEEWANA, DEEWANE HUYE PAAGAL, AJNABEE, HERA PHERI, PHIR HERA PHERI, etc. He had a great fl air for writing comic situations and dialogues. Unfortunately his ambitious film RUN BHOLA RUN is still unreleased. He was supposed to direct HERA PHERI 3 but due ill –health and other reasons beyond his control, he couldn’t do the film and the film was shelved for the time being. He was also a budding music composer and in partnership with his brother Uttank Vora, he composed for many plays and films like PEHLA NASHA. Even after doing films he didn’t quit theater and continued to do plays. It is indeed sad that a writer and actor of such stature was largely ignored by the industry and he never got the awards and due he deserved. But Neeraj was a happy soul, always with a smile on his lips and always the life of the party, making jokes and pulling pranks and making everyone happy. He was in a very sad state of mind when his loving wife passed away and since he had no children, he often felt lonely. But work was his solace and he wrote voraciously. One hopes he is happy in the Elysian fields and making the angels there happy too. One can only hope that his swansong RUN BHOLA RUN starring Govinda and Tusshar Kapoor gets released and that would be a fitting tribute to this lovely man who made us laugh and also cry in the dark auditorium. Good Bye Neeraj! We will miss you; Rest in Peace. Trade Magazine