Interview: Bollywood Hero to People’s Hero, Meet Author of ‘I Am No Messiah’ Sonu Sood
Great deeds may make one look fierce and act proud. Not often, they cave humility inside and reflect only love. He carved his name on the hearts of all migrants he helped through his Ghar Bhejo Campaign and on the rest of the nation as well. Swooning our hearts with his performance in Bollywood, he has played the angry young villain role multiple times. Meet Sonu Sood, actor turned author, of I Am No Messiah.
Here are some essential segments of Sonu Sood’s conversation with SheThePeople founder Shaili Chopra
1.How did you get the idea to pen down “I Am No Messiah”?
My mother told me that it is very important to pen down things and experiences which have touched your lives. Also, it becomes essential to go back to those memory lanes when the years pass by. The book helps me connect with all the important experiences in my life. In the last 10 months, I have connected with several people. I believe it is important to put their journey with me on paper. It is not just my story but also a voice for those millions who connected with me during this pandemic.
2. The book reflects on your personal interests outside the film industry. It throws light on meaningful experiences in your life. How is that important to you? Does your appraisal as a child have any connect with this?
My mother was a person who taught all her life. Children came from all over the village to study. She regularly dispensed the lesson of education with vigour. My father was enthusiastic about hosting langars. I never realised these are lessons to hold onto. The best thing you can do is, is give back to the society. When I saw, so many people suffering during the pandemic, these lessons learnt, knowingly or maybe unknowingly, came to surface and asked me to act. I give the credit to my parents.
4. The most visible part of the industry is glamor. However, it is difficult to make the cut, the competition is cut-throat and controversies are unsparing. You did something which made a bountiful social impact. How did the industry react to this?
They are really happy. I have been getting calls from everyone. They felt proud that I belonged to the industry. This never happened before. When you come to the alien city with dreams in your eyes, you do not know a single soul. I have been a part of the industry for about 18-20 years now. I shot close to 200 films. And then I took up this campaign, and reinvented myself as an actor who touched so many lives. People tell me that now when they will look at my movies, they will look at a different Sonu Sood. I am very proud to be associated with this. The time you begin to help others, is when you realise your inner power.
5. You have penned down your experiences with Meena Iyer, which encompass the invigorating service you have done to the underprivileged sections of the society. What should readers expect from this book?
Meena is a close friend and she is someone who understands me more than anyone else. It sends out the message of not limiting oneself in boundaries of profession. If you are an actor, acting will not be your only job. You can do anything you want. I would not have known the name of any doctor or medical service, ten months ago. But now, I am widely in touch with top medical institutions and doctors. The book reminds everyone to expand their reach. It will help you touch many lives. If I could inspire even one person, the job has been done.
6.The humanitarian award you received which was to distinguish you as an unusual hero was the culmination of a series of selfless efforts. What did it mean to you as a person?
I think it reminds you that you are doing right in life. Bade saare awards aate hain, trophies aati hain. It tells us to stick to the journey and not leave it mid-way. The journey is long. You have to keep going till the last breath.
7. You referred to your mother and her interest in education at the beginning. Did you ever read with her? What are your thoughts on the time you spent with her?
My mother had a huge library in the house. She was a professor. Unke paas bahut saari kitaabe thi. Last time I met her, she referred to her assortment of books and said, “Sonu, ye meri dharohar hai. Isko bech mat dena.Isko kisi ko de mat dena, jab tum acting mein busy hojau.”
I still have those books and take good care of them. I just wish that aaj jo meri kitaab aayi hai, woh uss library mei hoti aur wo pad paati. However, I also know that the book I have written is only because of my mother’s guidance and blessings from heaven. I miss her more, today.
8. We are a women’s platform and ardently speak about the issues and problems we face in society. Are there any women empowering social causes you would like to take up to make the world more equal?
I would like to say that women are stronger than men. Today, my wife is a very important pillar in the house. My wife supported me in the journey of helping migrants and never once complained. Women are the real leaders. Meri team mein bahut saari ladkiyaan hain, jo bahut mehnat karti hai. We learn so much from them. Women inspire us a lot. If they use 10% of that inspiration, men can do more than they are doing right now.
9. You are a father to two boys. The environment today visualises women asking for their rights which starkly contrasts the environment you were perhaps a part of. How would you like to raise them differently?
Important lessons of life na kitaabo mein hote hain, na kisi school mein hote hain. They are garnered through experiences. They often forward me requests of patients and people who need help. That is the learning point. They have seen their mother sacrifice so much. It all boils down to practical experience. Respecting women is a core lesson which they learn every day. They are the real warriors and soldiers. I hope that they learn what I am trying to teach them.