The man is convicted for his crime, but what one cannot take away from Salman Khan is his huge body of philanthropic work
"Can you see that man holding a kid? Your guards have stopped him from meeting you, but his son has a hole in his heart. Don't give me a bicycle; help him with the surgery instead."
Salman Khan paints a house in a Karjat village while shooting for a film
These words by a 10-year-old boy in Wai, where Salman Khan was shooting for 'Dabangg' in 2010, struck the star like a tornado. The boy had been meeting Salman almost everyday for a week, hoping that his favourite actor would gift him a bicycle like the ones he had distributed to 200-odd children in that town. "But when he attracted Salman's attention to another kid's plight, he was wonderstruck at the boy's sensitive and selfless gesture.
He wasted no time in putting him through to the best medical help possible. Salman believed it wasn't him or his contacts but the 10-year-old's intervention that made the surgery possible," recalls Sandeep Chopra, a doctor working with the star's Being Human Foundation, which was launched in 2007.
While Salman's compassionate nature is well known in industry circles, he himself did not make much of it. "He always says that my right hand should never know what my left hand is giving. And every once in a while he calls up to ask if there is adequate money in the foundation. His father (Salim Khan) and sisters (Alvira and Arpita) take care of it beautifully. From the day we started the foundation till now, never have the patients' names or community been disclosed. The family is very particular about that," adds Chopra.
He reminisces another
incident from 2011 when Salman had organised an impromptu blood donation drive on Independence Day. "He wanted to do something for the country on August 15 and dragged me to a blood donation camp in city. But it had shut down by the time we reached there. So he decided to have his own camp and called up his industry friends. About 30 celebs turned up in no time. He also organises various camps while shooting," he says.
In 2013, when the doctor of a leading cancer hospital approached Salman to sponsor 10 little patients belonging to poor families, he did not think twice before signing a cheque. The previous year, he paid R4 million to release nearly 400 prisoners from around 63 prisons in Uttar Pradesh via his NGO. The prisoners had completed their jail term, but were unable to pay compensation for their charges due to financial issues. Even for rural and social development programmes, the actor reportedly donated around Rs 11 crore.
Last year, he launched a website to help his fans find jobs either with his organisation or to be employed with his friends. To increase its reach and corpus, he reportedly sold his paintings and merchandise, the royalties from which would went to the foundation.
Sources close to him say he has plans to set up cafes, gyms and a production house to help raise money for the foundation. Earlier this year, the actor also endorsed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and painted houses at a village near Karjat while shooting there.
Salman is also known to shower his employees with lavish gifts — he took care of all expenses for the wedding of his househelp Mohan, say sources, with the entire Khan family in attendance to bless the newly weds.
A source says, "The foundation caters to 40 patients daily, either with surgeries or other forms of medical help. It spends R10-12 crore every year for the treatment of patients."