Long before the drought that many regions of India are reeling under broke into the national consciousness, film star Nana Patekar was quietly doing relief work. He began by providing support to families of farmers who had committed suicide, using his own funds. In one interview, he spoke about how he had money set aside for a new car when he found out the scale of farmer suicides and that sum was his first donation to the cause. He continued doing it without any fanfare until the media got wind of it. Later, along with Marathi actor Makarand Anaspure, he set up a foundation to expand the scale of the relief work, and within a week, they had collected over Rs 6 crore. More than the money, Patekar managed to create awareness about the deep distress in the interior regions of Maharashtra because of the drought, leading other Bollywood film stars to join the effort. Eccentric and usually publicity averse, Patekar has been instrumental in making the drought a public concern.
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