Indian actor Sonu Sood has been named the number one South Asian celebrity in the world for his philanthropic work during the Covid-19 pandemic. The 47-year-old Bollywood star beat several Bollywood and global A-listers to grab the first spot on the ‘50 Asian Celebrities in The World’ list, which is published by UK-based weekly newspaper Eastern Eye. Talking to The Brown Identity, Sonu says it all feels unreal. “The entire year has been a blur of activities for me. I’ve been on my feet trying to do my best for those who needed my help. It started as a small gesture from me,” he said.
Sonu shared, “I never knew it would grow to this extent. Now I’d like to keep doing forever what I am doing now.” Looking back on the year, he added, “It feels like a dream. This year has been the best teacher for mankind. I wish more people would learn the lesson that this year has taught me. We need to be a more compassionate civilization. We need to have more empathy towards the needy. We need to appreciate goodness and kindness and implement these qualities in our everyday life.”
Eastern Eye entertainment editor Asjad Nazir, who compiled the list, sang nothing but praises for Sonu. He told the Hindustan Times, “What started off with the big-hearted Bollywood star helping impoverished migrant workers stranded by lockdown get back home, evolved into a spectacularly philanthropic mission that made a difference to so many during the pandemic.” Asjad added, “Whether it was paying for surgeries, donating food, setting up scholarships, campaigning for women’s rights, or buying a new tractor for a farmer so his daughters could study and not plough a field, super Sonu helped in countless ways in 2020. He fully deserves the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, which is handed out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” he said.