Veteran Stage actor R Neelagantan, known by his stage name Neelu, passed away in Chennai on May 10 due to age-related ailments. The actor was 81.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, the actor was admitted in Kauvery Hospital for heart surgery and did not respond to well to treatments. He is survived by his wife Shanta, and sons Arjun and Bharath.
Neelu began his acting career by doing plays. He, along with Ambi (Cho Ramaswamyâ€™s brother) and Narayanaswamy, formed the Viveka Fine Arts. According to a story that appeared in The Hindu, Cho Ramaswamy was their senior and he wrote a play for the troupe that was a runaway hit.
Neelu has acted in over 7000 plays collaborating with stage artists like Cho Ramaswamy, YG Mahendran, Crazy Mohan, S Ve Shekhar and Mouli. Some of his popular plays include Muhammad bin Tughluq, Endru Thaniyum Indha Sudandira Dhaagam, Quo Vadis, Unmayae Un Vilai Enna?, Yarukkum Vetkamillai with his most recent being Crazy Mohanâ€™s Chocolate Krishna.
Neelu has also appeared on Television serials and films. He made his film debut in 1969 with Muktha Srinivasanâ€™s Aariyam Poi. Some of his film appearances include Avvai Shanmugi, Suryavamsam, Kadhala Kadhala, Dhenna, Pammal K Sambandham, Anniyan. He was last seen in Simbuâ€™s Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan.
Throughout his acting career he was employed with VD Swami, retiring after 40 years of service. On being asked about his day job, in an interview with The Hindu he said, â€śI was a typical middle-class man, who didn't want to take risks. I was employed with VD Swami and was doing well. I enjoyed acting but never allowed shooting schedules or drama rehearsals to interfere with my work. If I had chucked it and taken the plunge, I might have come up with better results but I never thought on those lines. I have no regrets.â€ť