Angels of Mumbai: From Sonu Sood to Kishori Pednekar, eminent Mumbaikars endorse their favourites

Sonu Sood, Actor

Endorsed by: Dr Sandeep Goyal, veteran ad man

Sonu Sood
Dr Sandeep Goyal

Special achievements: “Actor Sonu Sood has been like a God sent angel for millions who were stranded during the pandemic, and had no help or hope. While other celebrities shot exercise videos from the safe confines of their homes, Sonu was out there, right on the frontlines, arranging for the safe passage home for thousands (buses, planes, it, he organised it all). An incredible humanitarian effort, unheard of in the annals of human history. Sonu is, today, without doubt India’s Most Loved Celebrity who went out of his way to help others when no one else dared risk the pandemic.”

Kishori Pednekar, Mayor of Mumbai

Endorsed by: Arvind Sawant, Shiv Sena Leader and Member of Parliament

Kishori Pednekar
Arvind Sawant

Special achievements: “Kishori Pednekar, a three-time corporator, has devoted her life to the city and it’s residents, and her work is commendable. Pednekar was very active throughout the lockdown. She regularly visited hospitals, ward offices and civic departments to encourage health workers and BMC staff. A trained nurse herself, Pednekar donned the uniform once again and went to civic hospitals like BYL Nair, Sion, and KEM to encourage fellow health workers in the month of April, when the pandemic was at its peak. Pednekar met with the hospitals’ nursing staff and students, and enquired about their well-being and the difficulties they were facing while dealing with the pandemic. Even the Covid contraction didn’t stop her, and she immediately got to work after beating the virus. When Pednekar took charge of the office as the Mayor, she tirelessly worked for the betterment of the city. Save water and use BEST buses (to reduce traffic congestion and pollution) was her appeal to the residents. It was her initiative to demolish dangerous and dilapidated buildings. And since her ward falls under my parliamentary constituency, it gave me an opportunity to see her work closely.”

Rajiv Bajaj, Managing director of Bajaj Auto Ltd

Endorsed by: Dr Mukesh Batra, Homeopath, Founder of Dr Batra’s group of companies

Rajiv Bajaj
Dr Mukesh Batra

Special achievements: “Rajiv Bajaj pledged Rs 100 crore to work with the government and its network of over 200 NGO partners to ensure these resources reach those who need it the most. In Pune, the company will support upgradation of key healthcare infrastructure required to tackle Covid-19. The aid will support the government and identified private sector hospitals to upgrade ICUs, procure additional equipment and consumables including ventilators and personal protection equipment, enhance testing, and set up isolation units. These interventions will support communities in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and rural areas of Pune. Rajiv Bajaj has, on many occasions, vouched for homeopathy as a way to build up immunity against COVID19. Bajaj Auto set up a homeopathy centre in Pune and distributed more than 67,000 bottles of Homeopathic prophylactic medicines to boost immunity. Mr Bajaj has distributed this medicine among his employees and close friends as well as to police forces in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.”

Bhupal Ramnathkar, Founder of Umbrella Design

Endorsed by: Ramesh Narayan, Founder, Canco Advertising

Bhupal Ramnathkar
Ramesh Narayan

Special achievements: “When the country was in lockdown, Bhupal Ramnathkar, veteran creative leader in Mumbai's advertising circles, decided that communication need not be locked down. The need of the hour was to urge people to stay home and safe. After talks with his old Sir JJ School of Art friend and Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Udhav Thackeray, created a design brief, and over 500 creative people responded to his call to come up with something that would creatively urge people to remain indoors. Encouraged by the response, Bhupal is the brain behind the now ubiquitous ‘My Family My Responsibility’ design, and more recently the ‘No Mask, No entry’, which relied on design and a straight forward message to urge Mumbaikars to mask up and control the spread of Covid virus. The man behind the message: Bhupal Ramnathkar!”

Shishir Joshi, Founder and Chief Executive of Project Mumbai

Endorsed by: Ridham Desai, MD, Morgan Stanley

Shishir Joshi
Ridham Desai

Special achievements: “The lockdown saw Shishir Joshi and Project Mumbai, an NGO he founded, go into what can only be called miracle-mode. What began as a volunteer-driven support to provide meals, medicines and groceries to senior citizens living alone, even before the lockdown began, soon led to providing cooked meals to doctors, and kitchens of all the frontline hospitals — almost 1500 a day for over three months. Khaanachahiye — the initiative — has at last count provided over 55 lakh meals across Mumbai and the MMR. Simultaneously, as the crisis peaked, for almost 20 days he helped set up food trucks, providing free food, fruits and drinking water to close to 45000 migrants and travellers going back home. Other measures included making the largest donation of PPE kits in the country, launching and driving a dashboard for non-COVID-19 hospitals for the benefit of Mumbaikars. Other support initiatives by the Mumbai Project include: Two ambulances running 24x7 for the Mumbai police, 20 trolleys for the Central Railway, a helpline for domestic abuse, 10,000 raincoats and four lakh masks for the Mumbai police, along with thousands of face shields and sanitizer kits to the Maharashtra police. And if you have been in an autorickshaw lately with a plastic shield separating you from the driver, that’s another Project Mumbai contribution. However, what has been outstanding has been the initiatives Project Mumbai launched in taking care of senior citizens living alone. They also built a hyperlocal network of citizen volunteers.”

Shaheen Bhatt, author, mental health ambassador

Endorsed by: Dr Harish Shetty, Psychiatrist, Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital

Shaheen Bhatt
Dr Harish Shetty

Special achievements: “Shaheen has found a purpose and meaning in life! Her book, I’ve Never Been (Un)Happier, reflects a journey, an endeavour (conscious and unconscious) to save lives affected by depression. As a mental health ambassador she relays a rare sensitivity that is so important to heal those who are distressed. What Shaheen attempts is to break the stigma in the grey cells of the sea of humanity. This automatically will help ordinary mortals to seek treatment at the earliest and prevent catastrophic outcomes. For me, her persona evokes empathy and optimism to get back to the highways of joy from the valleys of despair! Three cheers to Shaheen’s courage and conviction that touches a million lives.”

Pratibha Pai, Founder, Chirag Foundation

Endorsed by: Sapna Malya, Associate Professor, SPJIMR and Director of Chirag Rural Development Foundation

Pratibha Pai
Sapna Malya

Special achievements: “Pratibha Pai has autographed every phase of her life with excellence. More importantly she has left an enduring mark of compassion as well. As a senior teacher at the H.R. College she received the Best Teacher of the year Award and also mentored underprivileged children in her spare time. She introduced the students to the joys of ‘volunteering and giving’; and steered the college to international recognition in the social space. Along the way she authored books on Ethics and Governance, topics dear to her heart. She then Founded Chirag Rural Development Foundation and in an amazing period of just ten years has used solar power to achieve successful interventions in 504 villages mainly around Mumbai, but also in eight other States. This has resulted in transforming the lives of over 1,10,000 beneficiaries in 18,900 households and in her earning the sobriquet, ‘Batti Wali Bai’. Her Integrated Rural Development projects have mitigated migration of villagers to cities like Mumbai and provided them with security, water, enhanced education, health and sanitation and livelihoods.”

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal