Helping the underprivileged is his passion and Sonu Sood is leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit of making a difference. In Chandigarh as a part of Sanjeevani- A Shot of Life drive to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid, he chose Punjab, his birth place as the first state to spread awareness about the inoculation drive in India. He is also in talks with the Health Ministry to lower the age limit for Covid vaccine.
“A lot of youngsters have got infected and we have lost many of them, so I feel that it is very important that the age limit is reduced to 25 so that we can secure the youth as well,” he says. Feeding the needy, providing education, employment, houses and now vaccine, he has done it all. This reel-life anti-hero has emerged as the real-life superhero and he feels blessed to be the chosen one.
“I must have done something right in life to get so much of love from people. My mom always used to say success is when you are able to help someone who is not expecting anything from you. Likewise, my dad would do weekly langars in front of his shops. Now, when this journey has started, it feels like I am taking forward their learnings and legacy.”
Last year, around this time, Sonu became the messiah who helped migrants reach home amidst lockdown. Today, due to the second wave, the labourers are setting on a similar journey. Does it look like a self-defeating effort to Sonu? And pat comes the answer, “No, we are more prepared and focused to give them a direction so that they feel safer than before. We are giving them employment, which is their main worry; then there are homes to stay at. Even if they are going back, they will have a reason to return when things settle down.”
Philanthropic work consumes him but Sonu says acting cannot be separated from him. Having completed shooting for a Hindi film, Prithviraj, and a Telugu film, Acharya, with Chirnajeevi, he says, “I am hunting for a good script in Punjabi to enter Pollywood and hopefully it should happen within this year.”
The actor says he loves to be in Punjab and seeks every opportunity to come back. Back in Mumbai, he agrees, the industry is going through a tough time. It’s time to create a new world in the movie business. “Yes, it has lost the momentum but every challenge brings out the best in us. OTT platforms have educated people towards a new kind of story narration and that will mean all the filmmakers will have to create something extraordinary to make these people leave their homes, spend money to come to theatres.” Drawn towards the digital world himself, he is still waiting for something exciting to become a part of.
His book I Am Not a Messiah chronicles his journey of the last one and a half years. When the system failed, this samaritan rose up to the occasion. “Over 7.5 lakh people were sent home, given healthcare. This is not just my story, it is the story of every individual I connected with in all these years. It is very special for me, I hope people read it, get inspired and take it upon themselves to bring the change they want to see. I have got 2,738 surgeries done, including the complicated ones, there are helplines and we get close to a lakh calls and messages every day.”