While most actors and celebs stayed indoors and posted selfies and videos of their home-based activities, Sonu Sood, the remarkable actor, did something remarkable. He went out and organized food relief operations during the lockdown. His Shakti Annadanam initiative aimed to provide food to 45000 people in Mumbai each day during the lockdown.
In reel-life, Sonu Sood excels as a villain. In real life, Sonu has a heart of gold, as evidenced by his inspirational and example setting selfless work during the pandemic. Sonu joined with Pravaasi Rojgar to provide jobs, in association with Schoolnet India and National Skill Development Corporation.
Even more commendable is that while health workers faced a boycott from residents where they lived, Sony welcomed them into his Juhu hotel. Paramedics in Punjab will remember with gratitude that Sonu distributed 1500 PPE kits, and police officers will thank him for supplying 25000 face shields.
Many are satisfied that they have done a lot beyond the call of duty. Not Sony. Oh, no. He then upped and provided phones and tablets to underprivileged children so that they could study while schools remained closed. He did this in association with Ph.D. Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The phones were given away to students of the Government Senior Secondary School at Morni’s Koti village.
The story does not end there. Sonu gave full support to students and parents on the protests that arose about the NEET exam. He offered to help students with travel should they have to attend the exams.
While all transport came to a standstill and students were left stranded abroad with very little timely government assistance, Sonu, the good guy, jumped in and helped such students return home. 1500 students belonging to Jharkhand and Bihar were able to return from Kyrgystan, and 101 students in Russia returned to Delhi and Chennai. His fame spread, and there were tweets by the hundreds from the beleaguered seeking help and Sonu, gallant as ever, tried his maximum.
While many gave lip service to stranded migrants, Sonu did the practical thing by starting a toll-free number to help migrants return home. Since that number was deluged with too many calls, he went one step further and started a call center to keep track of calls and help each caller. Sonu arranged buses to help migrants return home to Karnataka.
And do you know, Sonu bought a tractor and gifted it to a poor farmer? It is a fact, and he did it not for publicity but to help.
Sonu was touched by the plight of Kirshti Chhetri, a 12-year-old in far off West Bengal. His team traveled 2500 km to help provide funds to build a pucca house. He also helped an 85-year-old Lathi Kathi martial arts woman exponent to start her own classes on the premises of the Savali Foundation.
It is now nine months since the pandemic. Life may have returned to near normal. People may forget the good things that some did. But for some people, Sonu will live in their hearts forever, an inspiration and an example to the entire youth of India to do good.