Mumbai: Bollywood's multi-faceted talent Neeraj Vora, an actor, writer and director known for his humorous streak on and off screen, died here early on Thursday, months after being comatose, his family member said.
Vora's younger brother Uttank Vora told IANS that he died at 4 a.m. at a Andheri hospital. Vora was 54.
"He will be taken to Firoz Nadiadwala's house Barkat from where he will be taken to the Santa Cruz Electric Crematorium at 3 p.m.," Uttank Vora said.
Neeraj Vora wrote "Rangeela", directed "Phir Hera Pheri" and acted in "Bol Bachchan" among several other projects.
For months altogether, a room in filmmaker Firoz Nadiadwala's home was converted into a fully functional ICU for Vora.
Nadiadwala mourned his demise, saying: I've lost the battle to save my brother and friend from the clutches of death. His health had improved so much. But it deteriorated suddenly on Friday (December 8).
"He had to be shifted to hospital. But it was of no use. We lost him."
Born in a Gujarati family, Vora came to be known in the film industry for the way he tackled humour through his acting, writing and directorial projects.
He was also closely associated with theatre. In fact, "Golmaal: Fun Unlimited", which started the hit comedy franchise, was based on the Gujarati play "Aflatoon" by Mihir Bhuta and Neeraj. They had adapted from it from Harsh Shivsharan's original Marathi play "Ghar-Ghar"
Neeraj had an acting stint on television with shows like "Circus" and "Naya Nukkad", while on the film front, he made the audience laugh with roles in "Daud: Fun on the Run", "Hello Brother", "Bol Bachchan" and "Welcome Back".
As a writer, he worked on films like "Rangeela", "Akele Hum Akele Tum", "Josh", "Badshah", "Chori Chori Chupke Chupke", "Awara Paagal Deewana", "Deewane Huye Paagal", "Ajnabee" and "Hera Pheri" and "Phir Hera Pheri".
His directorial projects include "Khiladi 420" and "Phir Hera Pheri". He was to direct "Hera Pheri III", but uncertainty loomed large over the project after he suffered a stroke in October 2016.
Early tributes and condolences to Vora from the film world included names like Paresh Rawal and Rahul Dholakia.
"Neeraj Vora - The writer and director of 'Phir Hera Pheri' and many hit films is no more... Aum Shanti," Paresh tweeted.
Actor Tusshara Kapoor said: "Shocked and saddened to hear of the demise of Neeraj Voraji. Had cast me for 'Golmaal' and directed me in the unreleased 'Run Bhola Run'. RIP sir."
Dholakia described him as "one of India's finest humorist screenwriter", while actor Parvin Dabas said he was "one of the most brilliant comic minds in Hindi cinema".
"He was a friend, relative and also the writer of my first 'Kehtaa Hai Dil Baar Baar'. R.I.P," Dholaia said.
Actor Viveck Vaswani remembered Neeraj, with whom he was friends since they did "Raju" together.
Writer Milap Zaveri said: "You will surely make the heavens laugh."