As an actor, Irrfan Khan influenced several of his fans. But he also made a major impact on the lives of the residents of a Maharashtra village in more ways than one.
After his demise, the villagers of Igatpuri have decided to rename a locality after him. It will be called Hero-chi-Wadi because Irrfan was truly their hero.
Irrfan's first tryst with this village happened around a decade ago, when he bought a plot of land here for a weekend home. This land is surrounded by a few adivasi hamlets which are devoid of basic amenities like health and education.
When Gorakh Bodke, a member of the Zila Parishad in Igatpuri and a local politician, requested Irrfan to help fund an ambulance for the village, he readily agreed. After that he also took active interest in the development of the region.
Every year, Irrfan made it a point to donate textbooks, sweaters and other essentials to the tribal students.
Talking to India Today, Gorakh Bodke, said:
Whenever we needed him, he stood by us. He gave us an ambulance, sponsored school structures and books for students. He was a guardian angel to so many families. He never said no whenever anyone asked for help.
The villagers have also reciprocated to his humility in whatever ways they could. As per a report by India Today, children of this village haven't missed even a single film of the actor in the last 10 years.
Despite no movie theatres in the vicinity, they used to travel 30 km to the nearest one in Nashik to watch his movies.
A hero indeed - both in real and reel life.