Even though there are no movie theatres for several kilometres around the many villages which lie along the foothills of the Tringalwadi Fort in Igatpuri, Maharashtra, still the villagers who reside over there, hail the late actor Irrfan Khan as their guardian angel and are now renaming the locality surrounding Irrfan Khan's farmhouse in Igatpuri as 'Hero-Chi Wadi'. The villagers have also not missed watching a single movie of Irrfan Khan ever since the actor had visited their village. The villagers reportedly travelled around 30 kilometres by the transport buses to the movie theatres in Nashik to not miss any of Irrfan Khan's movies.
The reason behind this is that Irrfan Khan was funding the schools in these tribal villages and as a result, had been empowering the education system as well as the development in these villages. Gorakh Bodke, a member of the Zilla Parishad in Igatpuri as well as a local politician revealed to an esteemed publication that Irrfan Khan stood by the entire village whenever they needed him. He also said that Irrfan Khan provided the village with an ambulance, sponsored school structures and books for students.
Irrfan Khan had first visited the village a decade ago when he had bought a plot of land for a weekend home in Igatpuri. The area around Irrfan Khan's plot was the home to some Adivasi villagers like Kushegaon, Tringalwadi, Pardevi and Morale wherein the schools lacked some basic amenities. When Gorakh Bodke requested the late actor for providing them with an ambulance to the villagers to the nearest medical facility in case of any emergency, the actor immediately donated for the same and within a few months, he also started taking interest in the development of the village.
Bodke also revealed in the interview that the Angrezi Medium actor was a guardian angel to many families in the villages. He further added how Irrfan never denied anyone who required help. Bodke also recalled in the interview how he made several requests to the late actor over a vegetarian lunch at a local dhaba.
According to media reports, Irrfan Khan used to donate raincoats, notebooks, textbooks and sweaters to over 1000 students who were studying at the village school in the tribal areas. The Piku actor would send sweets for the villagers during any festival and also sponsored a dozen computers for the students so that they had access to the digital sphere. While the villagers started to see less of him when he was diagnosed with cancer, they went into mourning when they heard the news of his unfortunate demise.
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