You either die a hero, or live long enough to become a villain.
Sonu Sood, who’d earlier received plaudits for helping migrants reach home when the coronavirus lockdown had hit, has found himself at the center of a Twitter controversy over his latest good deed. On 20th October, a Twitter account with the handle @SnehalMisal8 had sent out the following tweet: “Hi Sonu Sir My son is affected with pulmonary stenosis where his body can’t take 100% of oxygen his oxygen level drops to 30% Pedeatric cardiologist has suggested for open heart surgery as early as possible so please kindly help out us in this critical situation.”
It was a poignant appeal, and Sonu Sood responded to the tweet five days later. “Tomorrow your son will be admitted to SRCC Hospital Mumbai. Surgery will be scheduled this week,” he wrote on twitter, quoting the original tweet.
It should’ve been yet another heartwarming tale of the Bollywood star having helped out someone in need, but matters didn’t end there. Some social media users pointed out that the account from which the original tweet had been sent was brand new, had no profile picture, and gave no contact details. Crucially, the account hadn’t even tagged Sonu Sood, so it would’ve been hard for Sonu Sood to even find this tweet among the millions of tweets that are sent every day.
As more accounts latched on to this fact, some started calling the act a PR stunt. “PR work is one of most devious strategies that is used for one’s image building. Bollywood & Politicians know very well how to use it. We innocent fools fall in the trap,” wrote a user.
Others even went on to to call it a scam.
At this point, Sonu Sood responded. “That’s the best part brother. I find a needy & they somehow find me. It’s about “INTENTIONS”, but u won’t understand. Tom patient will be in SRCC Hospital kindly do ur bit. Send some fruits for him.Someone with 2-3 followers will be happy to get some love from a man with followers,” he wrote. Sonu Sood also attached three pictures, supposedly as proof.
But Sonu Sood discovered that he might’ve opened a can of worms by sharing the pictures. One of the pictures was a photo taken of a Google Sheet, with the name Snehal Swapnil Misal, the name of the person who’d sent the original tweet, highlighted. But next to it was a date, which was 25th September. The Sheet was titled Pediatric Medical Surgeries, and while it wasn’t fully visible, looked as though it had the word Sonu Sood next to it. This showed that there was some connect between Sonu Sood and Snehal Misal as early as 25th September, while the tweet in which Snehal Misal had publicly asked for help was sent a month later, on 20th October.
This fact was picked on by several Twitter users.
This isn’t the first time when Sonu Sood’s intentions have been questioned. Last month, some social media users had called Sonu Sood ‘the biggest scam of 2020’ after several tweets to which Sonu Sood had responded had mysteriously disappeared.
Sonu Sood, for his part, has made a comeback into the national consciousness through his public acts of charity. His acts have perhaps been financially beneficial for him personally — since going viral for helping people out, Sonu Sood has done ads for Pepsi, Godrej Interio, EaseMyTrip, and other brands, and has been signed on as the brand ambassador of Acer. He has also received an award from the Punjab government, which many outlets had reported as him receiving an award from United Nations.
As such, it’s perhaps not unreasonable for people to question what Sonu Sood has been doing, especially when some of the details of his acts seem a bit unusual. The bit about the Excel sheet entry certainly is a little odd — his own Excel entry shows that he or his team was in contact with the person a whole month before they publicly tweeted to him for help — and it would likely put a lot of minds at ease if he could clarify what really happened.