A Bollywood Hero Who Rejected Luxury To Help The Poor

COVID-19 left a lot of people helpless and struggling for survival. A lot of people including Bollywood celebrities have caught everyone’s eyes with a huge donation amount. Their generosity is well praised by the media and people of the country on social media. But as human nature compels us, we focus on current magnanimous heroes in the limelight completely forgetting the ones in shadows.

If you are unfamiliar with the name Nana Patekar when the topic of conversation is ‘Charity & Bollywood Celebs’, then it’s woeful. You will hear now and then celebs donating a chunk of their earning (which is huge sometimes) to a noble cause but Nana has a different league that hardly can be touched by others. It is not the amount he donated makes him noble, but what he kept from his earnings for himself.

If he wanted he would have easily enlisted his name among the rich and famous but he had other plans. Other celebrities do charity or donation, but if you take a look at this man’s life you will find this man is living for everyone else. Leaving luxuries behind, the actor has contributed 95% of his wages from more than 30 years to Charity and chose to live in a 1 BHK flat with his mother. Only a few of his big charity works are known to media. Numerous people were helped by him, but the fame he got in return is very minimal. As his aim was helping the poor, he did not focus on involving media for every step he took. If he did, media would be tired of covering him almost every month in past years and continuing.

He has become the most generous donor to the farmers of the drought-hit regions in Maharashtra which according to NCRB recorded the highest farmer suicide case. In the year 2015, Nana Patekar along with Makarand Anaspure, took the initiative to stand with the families of farmers who had committed suicide due to arrearage brought by the drought in Vidarbha and Marathwada region of Maharashtra. Nana arranged an event in a small hall in Latur, where around 230 families were helped from the districts of Nanded, Parbhani, and Hingoli. Their package included blankets, clothes, and medical kit along with a cheque worth ₹15,000 for each family.

To provide aid to farmers and to expand the scope of such social work beyond monetary compensation, Nana Patekar and Makrand Anaspure have established an organization, the ’Naam Foundation’ in Pune in September 2015. The initiatives taken by the organization are:-

 Disaster Relief

 Farming

 Village Welfare

 Help for Farmer Widows

 Financial Aid to Army Martyrs Families

 Water Conservation

 Education

 Medical

 Other

In addition to the monetary help, the foundation is working on planting trees, training, and guidance to the farmers, farming centers, and employment centers, etc. One of its major aims is to fill back the dried lakes and rivers to provide safe drinking water to farmers and their families.

In 2019 the Naam Foundation took the initiative to build 500 houses for the victims affected in flood-affected districts of Western Maharashtra. The organization also adopted Dhondalgaon and Aamala villages falling under Vardhaa and Aurangabad. It has offices in the cities of Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Aurangabad, and Nagpur.

Patekar’s Early Life

Nana aka Vishwanath Patekar was born to Mr. Gajanan Patekar and Mrs. Nirmala Patekar on 1st January 1951 in Murud-Janjira, Maharashtra. He belonged to a lower-middle-class family. Before stepping into the film industry, Nana earned his living by doing odd jobs like painting zebra crossing on roads and movie posters. In an interview, Nana said that his father loved plays and encouraged him to watch them. This is how he developed his love for acting. Marathi director, Vijaya Mehta directed his first play.

Throughout his 40-year-old career, versatile Nana has acted in almost 100 films.

He made his debut in films with Gaman in 1978. Some of his remarkable films are Parinda, Angaar, Krantiveer, Ab Tak Chappan, Apaharan, Rajneeti, The Attacks of 26/11, etc. The monetary remuneration he received from Paathshaala in 2009 was donated to five charitable organizations.

Patekar, along with Irrfan Khan, is the only actor ever to win Filmfare Awards in the Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Villain categories. In 2013 Nana received Padma Shri Award for his dedication in the field of Films and Arts. When he received the Raj Kapoor Award which carries a cash prize of 1 Million, he donated the entire amount towards drought-related activities in Maharashtra.

Some heroes appear during distress or crisis; some wear the cape 24X7.

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