Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, who made his career by playing the role of villain, is being hailed as a real-life hero in India.Sood has been helping thousands of migrant workers, stranded by the Covid-19 lockdown in Mumbai to return to there home town.
Sonu Sood said “It gave me sleepless nights when I saw visuals of people walking hundreds of kilometres to reach their villages”.
After the lockdown millions of peaple found themselves without jobs or a source of income. And with state borders sealed and trains and buses suspended, thousands of men, women and children were left with no other option but to walk, sometimes more than 1,000 kilometres to reach home.
Sood, who won prestigious awards for his role as a wily villain in the 2010 superhit Dabangg, has worked with some of Bollywood’s biggest names such as Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai.For the past two months, the actor, along with his childhood friend Niti Goel, has been actively involved in helping people impacted by the lockdown.
He said “We started in March by distributing food, we started with 500 packets of cooked meals and groceries. Today we are distributing food and groceries every day to 45,000 people in slums, those stranded on the roads and those walking on the highways”. Sonu added “We were out distributing food on 9 May when we came across a group of people who said they were going to their homes in the southern state of Karnataka,” Sood told me.”We asked them how would you go? They said they would walk. But it was 550kms so I requested them to give me two days. I said, I’ll make all the arrangements for you to go home. I managed to secure all the permissions in Maharashtra and Karnataka.”
Sood and Goel also arrange many buses for them and they were there to flag them off. Before the buses began rolling, Sood broke a coconut on the road – a ritual to wish them a happy journey.