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Sonu Sood: Fit, Fab, and Fantastic

By Armin Sethi Monday, Apr 23, 2018 08:17: PM

He’s an inspiration for many – he worked hard to get to where he is and continues to work in projects that truly speak to him. From Moga to Mumbai to Chennai to Mumbai again, his filmography and the respect he receives in the industry is truly a testament to his work ethic. He inspires the likes of many, including Shah Rukh Khan…When I talk to him on the phone, I know it will be a pleasant and interesting conversation – and it is.


You have such an inspiring journey – Moga to Mumbai to Chennai, when your dreams first materialized. When did you realize you wanted to become an actor, when you were, by education, already an Electronics Engineer?

My mom was a Professor in English and Literature. She always thought that I need to have some good education in my background and possibly join the family business. But, in my head, in my second or third year of college, suddenly an inclination towards acting came and you know, I used to model in Nagpur, and suddenly, I became a very popular face in the city. All my friends then suggested that I go and try my luck in Mumbai. That’s what I shared with my mom and dad, and they said, if this is your dream, just go and achieve it.

So that’s how I started my career. It started from Tamil and Telugu and then it went into Hindi cinema.


When you came to Mumbai, there were two or three years of struggle. You described previously that you received an advertisement for shoes and you thought you’d hit the jackpot, but when you arrived at the venue, there were twenty other people just like you. You couldn’t really see yourself when the advertisement came out. At times like those, were there moments when you felt like giving up?

No, I never felt like giving up. I knew I had to make a mark. I came with a lot of dreams to this city. I knew that I would have to make it happen. I thought that I had to work hard. With all the ups and downs, with getting small work, standing in the background for some ads, that kept me going. I told myself – stay there, survive, and make it happen. I could survive in this city.


I remember you speaking about your mom having a great influence on you. Although you spoke on the phone, she used to write you letters. Do you still read those now?

Yes, of course, she started writing to me when I left to make my mark. Since then, until 2007, I still have all those letters with me. Whenever I feel low, I go through these letters, I still feel that she is around me – telling me to work hard and go for my dreams. Those letters from my mother are the ones that help me to come back on my toes.


What was the biggest, or most cherished piece of advice that you always go back to?

One thing she always told me was that, if you have dreams, then if you really work hard towards it, they will always come true. Patience and perseverance are the two words you always have to remember. And never give up. The odd pieces of your life will make you value the good ones. So just stay there,  and wait for the right time to come. Sometimes life puts you under water, and the challenge is how long you can hold your breath and that was the challenge I always kept in my mind.





You’ve had this amazing journey but after Dabanng, it felt like you had become very particular about the films you did.

Well, even Dabanng, I was not entirely convinced of the subject matter. I sat on the script and we had some changes done – and my character had to be done right. That is how we started shooting for Dabanng.

The thing is, you should feel happy about whatever you are doing, and feel very charged about it –  no matter if you are five or ten roles, the number doesn’t matter. The quality matters. I knew that offers would come and there would be chances coming my way, but it wasn’t about the numbers. So I took time, and somewhere, I did work with Jackie Chan. I did some Marathi films. I took my time choosing the right films for myself – be it Happy New Year.

I mean, the two most important films of this year include Paltan, with JP Dutta, and Manikarnika – I’m glad I have chosen to be a part of both films.


But what does make you happy on set? Is it the character, the script? What are you looking for?

I really believe that you need to see, if your role is removed from the film, how much the story shifts or the perspective is changed. If you remove your role, and the whole story goes South, that’s important. You can’t just be a part of the film – no matter how big the production is, how good the franchise is. I think that’s how I choose my films. Obviously, who the director is – that plays a huge part. But I look to see what I will be contributing to the film. That will give justice to my conscience also.


JP Dutta is best known for Border. That film is one that is noted in history. What are some of the things you have learnt while shooting with him?

We shot in Ladakh for almost two months, with a temperature of -15, -20 degrees (Celsius). You keep going though because you know the director you are working for. You know the kind of role you are doing. And you are playing a soldier.

You feel really proud, getting into the character of a soldier. That you are doing something that will make you proud. The whole thing came together to ensure you were doing your best in every frame.





You are also a source of inspiration when it comes to fitness, including SRK. What is a day of fitness like in your world?

I keep on re-inventing myself. I’ve been into fitness for the last fifteen years or so, through my early college days. Since then, I have been re-inventing myself. I like body-weight workouts. Every time I go to the gym, I know I am there to learn. That keeps me more happy, more curious to learn. Otherwise, you will keep doing the same thing over and over. I go every day and do things differently. That keeps you motivated to hit the gym every day.

 
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