Actor Sonu Sood arranges flight for 101 medical students in Russia to return to India
In the past few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bollywood actor Sonu Sood has turned a saviour for many vulnerable communities affected by the crisis. And again, he saves the day.
The antagonist character in reel life played another protagonist role in real life when he arranged a chartered flight to help 101 medical students come back to Chennai from Russia on Wednesday.
Image: YS Tamil
“Medical students in Moscow reached out to me for help to reach their homes in Chennai,” he told IANS over the phone. When asked about his new role as a villain-turned-real-life-hero, he said: “This is the best role I have ever played. The best script done in my life. The ‘thank you’ notes from parents and the students is what motivates me.”
While the SpiceJet flight was supposed to be a direct one to Chennai, a stopover at Delhi was arranged due to multiple requests.
“The flight had a seating capacity for 200 passengers. We were only 101 students, including one student from Delhi. We were not sure if the private airlines would operate chartered flights for our capacity. But, we learned actor Sonu Sood paid the remaining money to book the entire flight and facilitated our travel,” T R Sakthi Priyadarshini, one of the students, told The New Indian Express.
The students who wanted to return to India were connected via WhatsApp groups. While many students could return to other parts of India in different flights that were arranged, these 101 students were left behind.
“The students pay a nominal amount and I pay the balance. Even if the number of students is lesser than the seating capacity of the plane, I see that they come back to India,” the actor said.
Last month, Sonu had also helped arrange a flight for 1,500 students from Bihar and Jharkhand who were stranded in Kyrgystan.
According to him, the most difficult part is the task of arranging logistics as official permissions have to be obtained.
“The Ministry of External Affairs, Indian ambassadors in various countries and others were very helpful in making the job easier,” he said.
“The only challenge is arranging local transport in foreign countries for students to reach a particular airport. In some cases, students have to travel for 12 to 13 hours. I was never trained to do this. I also speak to overseas logistics providers,” he added.
The actor makes it a point to speak to all these students via zoom calls. There was even a time when he received about 300 calls between 1 am and 3 am.