R.Neelakandan,aka Neelu was an exuberant stage and film actor who like late N.Mathrubootham created a special track of comedy parade with sustained and calculated role play.He was a passionate player of roles both on stage and on the big and small screens.Acting came to him like child's play and he would be making himself a butt of ridicule, with an extraordinary sobriety on his face and a kind of noisy deliberation to hit humorous goals.He was closely associated with the satirical comedian Cho Ramasamy and later had a telling share in the comedy moments created on stage, by Crazy Mohan and his group.
For me, the most treasured role of Neelu on screen was that in K.Balachander's Nootrukku Nooru in which he appeared as a rigorous professor of Mathematics and fell vulnerable into the hands of a batch of mischievous students. In a particular scene, Neelu would be found teaching Calculus and every time when he would try to get up from his seat with the fond words"Now coming to Calculus"he would struggle to extricate himself from the gum pasted chair, prepared by his students as a mark of revenge.One could obviously notice the discomfort coupled with humor effectively displayed by this wonderful comedian.
Some of the other films in which he made a significant impact of comedy were Aayiram Poi,Mr.Sampath, Gowravam, Velum Mayilum Thunai,Mohamed bin Tughlaq, Sabatham, Sooriya Vamsam Kamalahasan's comedy blockbusters Avvai Shanmugi,Kaadhala Kaadhalaa and Pammal K.Sambandham. Besides these popular films, he will also be remembered for the television serial Enge Brahmanan.Neelu carried on his comic roles, with well meaning gestures on his face and sound and fury signifying complete sense of humour within the yardsticks of decency.The nasal tone and the way he would meddle with it rhythmically with his intrinsic love for Carnatic music, would make Neelu one of the most remembered comedians of his times.In his death, Tamil audience eagerly looking for sensible comedy skits, will not only miss a greatly endearing comedian, but will also happily push his name into the golden archives of Tamil Cinema, to be passed on to posterity for nostalgic recalls and reviews.