Actor Sonu Sood has ascended to real-world superhero status almost overnight amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The actor – best known for essaying villainous roles in Indian cinema – is being hailed for turning good samaritan for thousands of migrant workers during the nationwide lockdown.
Despite lacking almost all traits of a conventional Bollywood actor, Sonu, owing to his humility and eagerness to help the common man, has become a befitting hero in real life. While everyone else was sending ration and money to the workers, it was Sonu who took the initiative to send back all the migrant workers to their homeland.
Let’s take a look at the acts of kindness that Sonu did during this time of the pandemic.
1- Recently, Sonu Sood took to Twitter to launch a free helpline for homebound migrants. He tweeted the helpline number – 18001213711 – along with a message asking the migrant workers to get in touch with him and share the details of their location so that he can reach out to them.
Stating about the reason for launching the helpline number, Sonu told, “I was getting a lot of calls… thousands of calls every day. My family and friends were busy collecting the data then we realised we might miss out on a lot of people who we will not be able to approach. So we decided to open this call centre, it is a toll-free number. We have a dedicated team working on it, trying to reach out to maximum people and contact each and every person. We don’t know how many people we will be able to help but we will try.”
2- Ever since the actor flagged off the first bus with 350 migrants to Karnataka, he has been flooded with similar requests from many others. His Twitter became the hotspot for people asking him for help. He makes it a point to respond to these requests personally, asking many to send him their details so he can come to their aid. Sharing some tweets here:
3- It all started on May 11 when Sonu Sood and his friend Neeti Goel launched the Ghar Bhejo initiative to help migrants who are stranded in Mumbai city during the COVID-19-induced lockdown. Since then, they have flagged off 21 buses carrying 750 migrants to Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. He has also sent buses to Bihar and over the next few days, the actor will be sending over 100 more buses to help migrants reach their home.
But it wasn’t that easy for the actor to get the permissions. Talking about the same with a leading daily, he said, “The hardest thing was to get permission from the home states. We had to make sure the migrants had the necessary documents so that they wouldn’t be stranded at some border for a lack of permissions.” For the unversed, each passenger needs a medical certificate. So the two have got almost 10,000 migrants tested.
4- Formerly, the actor offered his Juhu hotel for healthcare workers including doctors, nurses and the paramedical staff during the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, he said, “It’s my honour to be able to do my bit for the doctors, nurses and paramedical staff of our country who have been working day and night to save the lives of millions in the country. I’m really happy to open the doors of my hotel for these real-time heroes.”
5- The actor also donated over 1,500 PPE kits to doctors across Punjab.
But if you are thinking that the actor has become a philanthropist over these few months, then you are totally wrong. Sonu Sood is no stranger to random acts of kindness and generosity. He has always been a keen social activist and philanthropist.
Here are some of his philanthropic acts before the pandemic hit us.
6- After the Pulwama terror attack, many families were devastated for losing their loved ones and some of them were the only bread earners in the family. Sonu Sood decided to donate his contribution to a martyr’s child education. According to a source,
“Sonu will be sponsoring the education of late army jawan Jaimal Singh’s five-year-old son based in his hometown Moga (Punjab). Unfortunately, Jaimal became a father 18 years after his marriage and lived with his wife, kid, and parents. Besides taking care of the child’s education, Sonu will also be donating money to the family.”
7- In the past, the actor has lent his voice to different causes, including the fight against drug addiction in his home state of Punjab. Back in 2018, there were reports that he also met drug addicts to make them aware of the hazardous effects of its consumption.
In an interaction with Mid-Day, the actor had said, “The anti-drug campaign is a mission to make Punjab a drug free state. It was an honour to meet Captain Amarinder Singh. He has been a great force in championing the cause. After Punjab, we will travel to different states to promote the cause.”
8- In 2016, he launched the Saroj initiative – named after his mother – to help acid attack survivors; and since then, he has been committed to helping these survivors as well as other differently-abled people.
The actor also started a skin donation campaign for acid attack survivors in association with an NGO founded by Kulsum Shadab based in Bengaluru called Hothur Foundation. Talking about this initiative, Sonu Sood said,
“The skin donation campaign organized by Hothur Foundation, aims at raising awareness and extending support to acid attack survivors who are in dire need of skin to lead a regular independent life. We are planning to have more skin donation banks across India. We are targeting a few cities in the country first. I have met and will continue to meet dermatologists to know how skin grafting works and how they preserve skin. I want to study it in-depth to be able to impart awareness to people.”
9- The actor also owns a gym in his hometown, Moga and all the fitness enthusiasts are using it for free. Back in 2015, Sonu gifted 50 cycles to his gym members. He told a leading daily,
“People I have given the cycles to are poor and come from far-off villages. They usually travel by bus or get a lift on a bike to come to the gym. Apart from being eco-friendly, it is especially feasible in Punjab to use cycles on wide roads as bus services are not that good. It’s quicker for them to reach their destination and remain fit too but most of them can’t afford cycles. What they earn daily they earn and spend. They can’t come regularly to the gym as they miss the bus and I want them to go regularly. People from the villages don’t know anything about fitness and I want them to become more aware. By cycling, they burn their calories while doing their work also like the milkman.”
10- Another initiative that came in the spotlight was when Sonu built a cricket academy for underprivileged children in Mumbai and Punjab.
It is rightly said that not all heroes wear capes. Hats off to you Sonu Sood!