New Delhi: Actor Sonu Sood started out as a model before venturing into showbiz in 1999 with Tamil film ‘Kallazhagar’, and his filmography has recently been enhanced by a project with international icon Jackie Chan. Looking back at his career, Sonu says while acting was always his passion, he took up modelling only to survive in showbiz.
As a model, Sonu had participated in the Graviera Mr. India contest in 1996 but didn't get to wear the crown. But just over 15 years later, Graviera chose him as its brand ambassador.
Is the fashion industry a platform for models to get into Bollywood?
"Yeah, it is definitely one station closer to Bollywood. I started as a model just to survive. I did not even know a single soul in this city (Mumbai). No connection in Bollywood, never knew anyone, so where to start from... So, I thought modelling (was the best option) to pay those monthly rents and daily expenses," Sonu told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
The 43-year-old Nagpur-born actor, who is popular for his well-chiselled body and fit physique, says he had "no hardcore plans to be a model".
"Acting has always been my passion. Modelling just happened by chance. Acting was always the first and the last target," said the actor, a qualified engineer who has featured in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu films.
With no Bollywood backing, the actor says he faced many difficulties in his initial days when he was trying his luck in the Hindi film industry.
"I faced all the difficulties in the world -- from travelling in local trains to trying to get an entry into office and trying to even get an appointment to show my photographs, all had been really tough. I knew it would be a tough journey when I came to this city (Mumbai)," said Sonu, who has now featured in films like Salman Khan's ‘Dabangg’ and Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Happy New Year’.
He said his focus on his passion helped him achieve his dreams and make his parents proud.
"I knew I had to take a step forward and come to this city and make my parents proud. I came to this city not just for my dreams, but with an ambition to make everyone proud," he added.
It has been almost two decades since he had his first tryst with films. After working with Shah Rukh, Salman, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Akshay Kumar, Sonu has taken a huge leap into sharing screen space with legendary actor Jackie Chan in the upcoming Sino-Indian film ‘Kung Fu Yoga’.
"I think the journey has been good," he reflected, and added: "Not been bad at all for an outsider... But there are still miles to go."
And he is ready to face failure with a smile.
"Sometimes it affects you, but that keeps you moving and stronger. So, when a movie doesn't work, you have to come out stronger. You have to just work hard for your next one and that's what I have been doing all these years," said Sonu, who is now gearing up for the release of ‘Tutak Tutak Tutiya’, with which he has turned over a new leaf as a film producer.