Sonu Sood picks up our call but he is in the middle of something. “I had people from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana at the gates of my home in Mumbai asking me to get them back safely home when you called me. I couldn’t say ‘no’ to them. I feel responsible for the citizens of my country to feel safe and to help them reach where they belong,” he says. But why has he been doing things that really was supposed to be on the government’s priority list? “When I see hundreds and millions of migrants on Mumbai roads, under the flyovers and pavements with their kids and wives and me travelling by car from Thane to my home in Andheri and looking at their misery is not a happy sight. Everything was in slow motion. I started wondering what I could do to unite them with their families and if I am capable of doing such a huge thing which I wanted to. But when I did this, the smile on their faces brought me a lot of joy. Their families get in touch with me to share the happiness. I am not someone who was trained to do this. It wasn’t an easy task. I had to go to different police stations, get permission, and send them back home, and I started believing that I could do this across the country. Later, people who were stuck in different states realised that Sonu Sood can send them back home and this belief kept them on their toes,” he says.
Indian students stuck in Russia were also recently brought back home by the actor in a chartered flight. “They tagged me on social media and that is how it caught my attention. I remember that one of the students from Kyrgyzstan lost his life and students wanted to be back in India. I approached the embassies, ambassadors, and Ministry of External Affairs to chalk out a plan and arrange flights for them to get back to India ASAP. Then students from Tamil Nadu who were stuck in Russia got in touch with me. I had a zoom call with them and arranged for a chartered flight. That is how they got back to India. People from the Philippines, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine too later touch-based with me and arrangements are under way to get them back home safe,” he reveals. Prod Sonu if he has been facing a backlash or threats from his own fraternity for doing such work even as Bollywood’s image has taken a beating with nepotism charges post Sushant Singh Rajput’s untimely death, he replies he hasn’t been outcast by his colleagues yet. “They have been sending me congratulatory messages on Whatsapp. They have been supportive of my cause,” he says.
Sonu reveals that he hasn’t had time to read scripts because of his work to help mirgrants. “I have as many as six scripts on hand sent by directors and I haven’t read any of them. I can’t focus on that. I immediately go check my emails to see if anyone is waiting for my help somewhere on this earth,” he says.
Before we end of the conversation he says, “I don’t know what will happen next or who will need help. Every day is a new challenge. God has chosen me to do this and I feel blessed.”