Growing up in Moga, Punjab, in a typical Indian family, Sonu Sood's parents wanted his son to become an engineer. His father runs a garment shop and his mother is a college professor. To fulfill his parent's wish, he completed his engineering from Nagpur. But this was a far cry from his personal ambitions.
Getting nostalgic about those days, Sonu recounts, "My family wanted me to take up decent accommodation in Mumbai but I chose to rough it out and went through all that a struggling actor experiences. I stayed with people in a one-room tenement. I knocked the doors of producers as I had no Godfather in the industry. That was the time I truly experienced Mumbai! I look back at those days as a time of great learning and also of great fun. I finally made my mark in vernacular movies in the south and then there was no looking back!"
The former model kickstarted his career with the Tamil flick, Kallazhgar, in 1999 and entered the Hindi filmdom in 2002 with Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. But it was after the 2010 box-office hit, Dabangg, where the actor played a goon called Cheddi Singh, that he truly arrived in Bollywood.
Currently, Sonu is excited about his recently released Hindi film, Kabeer Kaushik's 'Maximum', a realistic cop drama. He also has big plans for the future including honing his talent as a film producer.
Speaking about the award-winning role of Cheddi Singh in Dabangg that launched his career in B-town, Sonu explains, "I believe that an actor's observation can do wonders to his acting skill. In Dabangg, I played Cheddi Singh and to get the nuances such as the twang and accent right, I emulated my roomies in Nagpur who were from Bihar." And his efforts were well received at the box office.
Sonu is not your typical party boy. He prefers to keep out of the public eye and keeps socialising to the minimum. "I am not a party animal and being a teetotaller helps. On the contrary, I am quite the family guy and love to spend time with my wife, Sonali, and son at home or outdoors," says the actor who occasionally plays the guitar to unwind.
And, with social media the latest rage among Indian celebs, Sonu, on the other hand, says, "I am on Twitter but I really don't think it would be of any interest to anyone if I dole out updates on what I am doing every nanosecond!" he laughs.
"In today's day and age, looking fit is inescapable and in a way, it's good. To me, working out is like breathing. It has become an integral part of my routine. I must go to the gym after waking up in the morning. I am particular about my food and avoid junk food altogether," says Sonu, who keeps himself in great shape.
Sonu has successfully traversed the Bollywood industry and has essayed an assortment of characters. In Maximum, Sonu plays an encounter specialist based in Mumbai and in Shootout at Wadala, directed by Sanjay Gupta (a prequel to the 2007 cop drama Shoot out at Lokhandwala), he plays a character inspired by Dawood Ibrahim. "Every one of my films is a step towards realising my dreams. I am looking forward to some great work with four films on the floor and four to be released in the coming years. I am open to Punjabi films too as it is my mother tongue," smiles Sonu as he adds, "My dream role would most certainly be the Indian version of James Bond!"
With Sonu Sood Productions, this powerhouse performer has now taken the mantle of a producer with the first film from his production house, titled 'Lucky Unlucky' - an action-adventure, starring Mallika Sherawat in the female lead role opposite himself. Here's wishing a 'lucky' start to Sonu's stint as a producer!