Sonu Sood: On my first birthday in Mumbai, I was sitting alone and had tears in my eyes
Sonu Sood speaks in a recent interview about how this year has been very special, missing his parents on the occasion of his birthday, and recalling the time when he came to Mumbai and was alone on the occasion!
Sonu Sood has been a messiah of sorts for a lot of people whom he helped in these last three months during the lockdown. He celebrated his birthday on July 30 and was flooded with wishes on his social media account.
And in an interview with Times of India, he spoke about bringing in the occasion amid the lockdown, missing his parents, and recalling the day when he celebrated his birthday when he first came to Mumbai and was all alone.
He first talked about how this year has been special and said, "I would say this year has been very special, I would say because I have my extended families in all these different states. I've been able to connect with millions, I've been able to bring smiles on their faces. I just want to wish that they should stay happy always and I could stay connected with them."
He added, "This Corona thing should end soon. I've seen a lot of people suffer because of this I just want this to end so that they all can come back with full force, happy and can again start their normal life so I just want a lot of prosperity, goodness to spread and that's my only wish on my birthday."
He then talked about missing his parents on this special occasion and how they used to bring in his birthday. He spoke, "I was very close to my parents, I always used to wait for that one birthday wish that used to happen and today, I miss them more. I wish they were here and I could give them a tight hug and thank them for bringing me in this world and teaching me what all I'm doing in my life."
And then he revealed the time when he was alone on his birthday when he came to Mumbai for the first time and how he had tears in his eyes. He stated, "I was sitting at a bridge in Lokhandwala alone in the middle of the night. At 12 o'clock, my mom, my dad and my sister called me and they wished me. They asked, 'Do you have any friends there?' and I said, 'I don't have any friends in Mumbai.' I was feeling alone and I had tears in my eyes, that this city is so big, with so many people, and there's no one to wish you personally."
During these last three months since the lockdown happened, Bollywood star Sonu Sood helped a lot of migrants reach back their respective hometowns after they were stranded in Mumbai. He began arranging for the buses after taking necessary permissions from various state governments.
That's not all, he also airlifted a number of people and ensured they reached their homes safely. People who were stuck in Mumbai or any another part of the country used to tweet to him and the actor made it a point to reply to as many as he could. Owning to his philanthropic work in these last few months, a man, whom the actor had airlifted from Cochin to Odisha, opened a welding shop in his name to pay him a tribute.
While talking about his initiative, the actor spoke to mid-day.com and stated, "This is the first lot of buses. We arranged for fruits, meals and water for their travel. The Maharashtra government officials helped us in organising the paperwork, and a special mention to the Karnataka government for welcoming the migrants back home. We are in the last leg of procuring permission to send people to Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar. We need to help the migrants get home safely."
That's not all, in an interview with PTI, he said, "I intend to work till the last migrant reaches his home. The journey has to continue in full force. No one should be rendered homeless. We want them to reach home safely. I have nothing to do with politics. I am doing this purely out of my love for migrants. I want to help reunite them with their families."
On the work front, Sood is gearing up for the period drama Prithviraj, produced by Yash Raj Films and starring Sanjay Dutt, Akshay Kumar, and Miss World Manushi Chhillar. The actor has been a part of films like Yuva, Aashiq Banaya Aapne, Jodha Akbar, Singh Is Kinng, Shootout At Wadala, R... Rajkumar, Happy New Year, and Simmba.
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Sonu Sood comes from a small town called Moga in Punjab and has worked his way into movies featuring stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar, apart from international star Jackie Chan. Born on July 30, 1974, Sonu Sood's birthplace is Moga, Punjab, however, he grew up in Nagpur.
In picture: Sonu Sood shared this throwback picture and captioned it: Came across this picture. I remember being a huge Raveena Tandon fan. Never thought will one day be part of the industry too. Time flies [sic]"
Sonu Sood did his engineering from Nagpur but he switched from the engineering stream to the film industry and started out as a model. "Showing my back to a secure future, I had opted for an uncertain career in films. I also took on roles that were not in the safe, conventional mould but were the kind that challenged me as an actor," said Sonu, whose debut into showbiz was in 1999 with Tamil film Kallazhagar.
In picture: Sonu Sood shared this picture from his very first portfolio in Delhi shot by his friend Rony Kaula. This picture actually got Sonu his first Tamil film.
With no Bollywood backing, Sonu Sood made a name for himself with impressive performances in films such as Yuva, Aashiq Banaya Aapne, Singh Is Kinng, Jodhaa Akbar, Dabangg, Happy New Year, Simmba.
In picture: Sonu Sood shared this train pass that he made when he came to Mumbai for the first time (1998). So, well he started his journey as an actor by travelling in local trains, just like any other struggler.
Sonu Sood is said to be the only North Indian actor to establish himself in the South. He received the Nandi Award in 2009 for his film Arundhati. His track record in South comprises 95 per cent hits and people still say he is their lucky mascot. Sonu makes it a point to at least have two South releases every year.
In picture: Sonu Sood reacts after receiving the Best Performance in a Negative Role award during the 2011 International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards at the Roger Centres in Toronto, Ontario, on June 25, 2011.
Very few know that Sonu Sood has been playing the guitar since his engineering days at Nagpur. Most engineering students are inclined towards music and he too wanted to learn an instrument.
In picture: That sweet little kid is none other than Sonu Sood. He shared this picture on Instagram with the caption: The journey from behind the camera to... in front of the camera was long but really worth. #DreamWithYourEyesOpen
Sonu loves the style with which Feroz Khan held the musical instrument in Jaanbaaz, at the start of the song Har Kisi Ko Nahi Milta. But while learning the instrument, he realised that most of the actors held it in the wrong position, which is kind of funny. In his initial years, Sonu used to practise a lot and had mastered tracks like Sanson Ki Zaroorat Hai Jaise (Aashiqui), Chehra Hai Ya Chand Khila Hai (Sagar) and many of RD Burman's songs.
In picture: Sonu Sood with son Eshaan.
Sonu Sood also shared screen space with the legend, Jackie Chan, in the 2017 film Kung Fu Yoga. The two are close buddies now. Sonu is very close to the Chinese superstar's family too. Sonu shared this picture with Jackie Chan and wrote alongside, "Some bonds are for life thank u bro #jackiechan n #stanleytong for the lovely dinner. Was great catching up again after so long Love u always .. n yes all set for KUNGFU-YOGA-2 #dubai"
On the personal front, Sonu Sood lost his mother Saroj, who was a teacher by profession, in 2009. An emotional Sonu, once penned a heartfelt note on Mother's day, in her remembrance, which read: Someone said today is Mother's Day. I was celebrating it every day unknowingly. How can there be one day that you dedicate to someone you call MAA? She's the one who celebrates your presence in her life every day. I miss u Every second of my life maa. I miss dropping you to your college on my scooter. I miss attending your lectures as a student. I miss receiving letters from you. Life is not the same, maa. A lot more goals to meet but the drive that motivated me was always you. Stay happy wherever u are. Take care maa till I see u again. Happy Mother's Day."
In 2016, Sonu Sood lost his father Shakti Sood. He passed away in their hometown, Moga, in Punjab. The actor was at home when his father suffered a cardiac arrest. Sharing a hand-written letter by his father, Sonu wrote an emotional post, which read: Happy birthday Dad! This is the 5th year that I have not wished you in person. No words can describe how much I miss u dad. Time is flying but every single day I visit all our memory lanes, You dropping me to school on your scooter and to the day when you dropped me at New Delhi railway station when I began my journey as an engineer. Remember you gave me all the money you had in your pocket and told me that you will manage somehow on your trip back to Moga. You were so so special dad. Wish I could go back to those times. On your birthday today, I am sharing a letter that you wrote to me on my birthday. Today on your birthday I feel happy that the drive that I started on your name "Shakti Annadanam" has been feeding thousands every day. Will try to follow your footsteps till I see you someday. Take care of yourself where ever you are. Will miss u always."
Following his father's footsteps, in April 2020, Sonu Sood decided to provide meal kits to over 25,000 migrants on a daily basis in Mumbai during the Muslim holy month of Ramzan, during coronavirus pandemic. "Times are so difficult today that it's very important for each one of us to stand for each other. Through this initiative, I would be helping all those who would be fasting during this period and we would provide special meal kits so they don't stay hungry after fasting all day," Sonu said.
The initiative helped many migrants who had come from faraway places like Bengal, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Before this, Sonu started a ration drive to help the needy during the Coronavirus lockdown imposed in Mumbai. Under the initiative Shakti Annadanam, named after his late father Shakti Sagar Sood, Sonu aimed to feed more than 45,000 people on a daily basis in Mumbai. He also offered his hotel in Juhu for healthcare workers including doctors, nurses and paramedical staff.
In picture: Sonu Sood with his two siblings - Monika and Malvika.
While Sonu Sood has been constantly in the news amid the lockdown for his unstoppable social service, we would like to highlight here that the actor has been lending a helping hand to the needy since many years now. In 2019, Sonu Sood decided to help the Indian Badminton team for the annual Special Olympics Asia Pacific. Besides motivating them personally, Sonu also sponsored their travel and stay during the Special Olympics, which was being held in Bangkok. He took a keen interest in their training and was in constant touch with the coach to check if there is anything that the team required for the championship.
In picture: Sonu Sood (L) poses with his wife Sonali as they arrive to attend a party hosted by actress Deepika Padukone in Mumbai late December 21, 2013.
In 2018, Sonu Sood met Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh in a bid to tackle the drug menace in the state. Sood actively fought to curb the increasing drug abuse prevalent in the state via an anti-drug campaign. He personally worked for the campaign with the help of several top government officials and cops. The actor used to even visit Punjab to assist people working on the campaign and met a few drug addicts to make them aware of the hazardous effects of its consumption. In these meetings, Sonu advocated ways of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
In picture: Sonu Sood with his eldest son Eshaan. Like father, like son! Eshaan too seems to be keen on building fab abs, just like his father.
In 2017, Sonu Sood received the Punjab Ratan award for his contribution to the welfare of people of Punjab, especially his hometown, Moga. Governor of Punjab, V P Singh Badnore, honoured the actor at an event at Fazilka in Punjab. The venue was full of the families of the martyrs in the 1971 Indo-Pak war and several Majors, Colonels and soldiers who fought that war were also present.
In picture: Sonu Sood and his younger son Ayaan. "My hero AYAAN.. U wanna follow my footsteps and I WANNA FOLLOW YOURS..keep the hard work going," Sonu captioned this picture. Body-building seems to be in the genes, it seems!
In 2019, Sonu Sood met some of the family members of martyrs of the terror attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir. "Our country's real heroes are our brave soldiers who leave their families to protect our land. They know that they are going to spend really less time with their families...despite that, they leave their families at their homes and they protect us. When incidents like Pulwama terror attack happens, then we always feel guilty by thinking that they (soldiers) are doing so much for us but are we doing enough for them and their families... so, I feel this is the time when we have to gather here and make sure that their families are well looked after so that our brave soldiers feel satisfied in heaven," he said.
He shared this picture when he met the family of Pulwama Martyr Jaimal Singh. Sonu personally asked his social media fans to support Jaswant Singh (father of Jaimal Singh) by stating his Bank details, for their financial support.
Earlier, Sonu Sood shared this picture with media photographers and thanked them in truly kind words - 'The real Stars who make the stars look like Stars.. #mediaphotographers love u guys.' Well, some of you reading this might even think, what's such a big deal about this? But small gestures and good deeds do count and make a positive impact on a person. And there can't be a more apt example than this!
On Independence Day, he paid a visit to Oshiwara Police Station to thank the real heroes - Mumbai's police force and left a smile on everyone's face, amid their hectic routine. "Such a pleasure meeting our true heroes - Senior PI Shailesh Pasalwar and his brave team. Oshiwara Police Station" he wrote, with this picture.
And this year, as a man on a mission to spread positivity and help as many people possible in these difficult times of COVID-19, Sonu Sood truly has been unstoppable in doing his bit. Right from feeding thousands of underprivileged families and strays across Mumbai to giving out his Juhu hotel for medical forces and even providing meal kits to over 25,000 migrants during the month of Ramadan - he made sure to contribute to the society in every way possible in these trying times. "Let's fight the battle against #Covid19 together! Join me in the #ShaktiAnnadanam drive and let’s make sure that no one sleeps hungry" - was his message!
Sonu Sood organised transportation for a section of migrants who had been stuck in Mumbai amid the lockdown. Initially, the actor arranged for 10 buses to take 350 workers to their hometown Gulbarga, Karnataka, from Thane, after procuring the necessary permission from Maharashtra and Karnataka governments. He arranged for fruits, meals and water for their travel. The Maharashtra government officials helped Sonu in organising the paperwork. He even went to the bus terminus to oversee their journey. The actor went on to arrange hundreds of buses since May 11 for the workers stuck in Mumbai.
"I feel it is my duty to help the migrants, the heartbeats of our country. We have seen migrants walking on the highways with their families and kids. We just can't sit in the AC and tweet and show our concern till we don't go on the roads, till we don't become one of them. Otherwise, they will not have the trust that there is someone standing there for them. So I have been coordinating for their travels, for permissions from different states," Sonu Sood told IANS. He further claimed: "Now I get so many messages and hundreds of emails everyday saying that they want to travel and I have been coordinating non-stop from the morning till the evening. This has become my only job during this lockdown. It gives me so much satisfaction that I can't express in words."
Sonu Sood added, "When I see these migrants and all those who are suffering, I feel that we have lost the respect of being a human. I can't sleep properly in the night because the thoughts keep coming in my mind. The entire day I am reading emails, noting down their phone numbers, trying to call them. There are hundreds of them. I wish I could drive them personally to their villages day and night and reunite them with their families."
"They are the real face of India who have worked hard to build our houses. They have left their homes, their parents, their loved ones and worked so hard just for us. Today, if we are not there to support them, I think we don't have any rights to call ourselves human beings. We have to come forward and help them with the best of our abilities. We can't leave them on the streets, we can't see them dying on the highways, we can't let those little children walking with them think that there is no one for their parents," he added. And we cannot agree more!
Sonu has now launched a toll-free number - 18001213711 - through which people can reach out to Sood's team for help.
Here's wishing a very happy birthday to Sonu Sood!
It's Sonu Sood's birthday on July 30. Over the past few months, the actor has been in the news thanks to his initiative to send stranded migrant labourers home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As the actor continues his good work, helping people during these tough times, we take a look at his journey in filmdom and how he has always been the face of kindness.
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