Neeraj Vora, the man who made everyone laugh on screen and off it too, is no more. Neeraj, who came into his own as a writer for Ram Gopal Varma’s Rangeela and Daud, also made a big impact playing comic roles in films like Akele Hum Akele Tum, Satya, and Welcome Back, passed away early on Thursday morning.
Producer Firoz Nadiadwala, who had been looking after the ailing artiste for over a year, broke the news of Neeraj’s demise. “He passed away at 4 am on Friday. I’ve lost the battle to save my brother and friend from death. His health had improved so much, but it deteriorated suddenly on Friday. He had to be out into the hospital, but it was of no use; we lost him.”
For the past year, Firoz had been looking after all medical expenses of Neeraj, who was in a comatose state. Doctors had given up the actor-director for almost dead till Firoz stepped in and even ensured he had a special room and a fleet of medical experts at his disposal.
Firoz says, “It’s been a year on October 19 since I got Neeraj to my home from AIIMS, Delhi, where the doctors had declared he would be dead in a few hours. Quite frankly, I don’t know what powers made me do what I did. I couldn’t leave him to die. He had nobody to look after him. Neeraj had a brother but he was financially incapable of shouldering the responsibility. I had known Neeraj for 12 years. We had worked together in several films, and we’ve shared a close bonding. How could I leave him to die?”
The filmmaker recalls the fateful day. “The doctors had given up on Neeraj. I immediately hired an air ambulance to bring him to Mumbai. I have to confess, my heart was in my mouth. If Neeraj had passed away during the journey or even after landing, I’d have been in serious legal and moral trouble. Luckily, God was on my side.”
Neeraj’s room in Firoz’ house had pictures of his parents and had the veena playing in his room, as well as the Hanuman Chalisa recited for him. The recovery was slow, but now Neeraj is gone. “I was so sure he would recover fully, but God willed otherwise. We’re giving him a proper send off with pooja and rituals. The cremation took place at the Santacruz crematorium,” Firoz informs.