It's raining biopics in Bollywood. After the box office success of Sanju the Sanjay Dutt story which continues to attract people to the big screen despite its white-washing ways, it's now time for Shaad Ali's Soorma. The story of former Indian Hockey team captain Sandeep Singh played by the very pleasant and talented Diljit Dosanjh. Sanju was a difficult film to make considering the many aspects of the superstar's troubled and flawed persona. Events were left out, important people were forgotten. We know all this because India is a country that loves its films and film stars are a huge part of our daily conversation. Hockey, on the other hand, maybe our national sport but in a country that has failed to honour the world's greatest ever hockey player in Dhyan Chand what chance does Sandeep Singh's story stand? Unless of course, we make a film on it. A good one at that.
Known by his moniker ‘Flicker Singh’, Sandeep’s real life has witnessed the highest level of downfalls, yet he bounced back and clinched the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2009, as captain. The accidental gun-shot to his lower waist paralysed him for a year. He, however, regained his confidence and determination as he made a triumphant return. Such has been the life's journey so far of the inspiring man from Shahabad, Haryana. Diljit Dosanjh blends seamlessly into the on-screen persona of Singh, and brings to life his story. Most know about the bullet wound but there's more to Sandeep than the injured lower back.
The movie starts off with his childhood memories of being trained under a ruthless coach. One that made him hate the sport, but the lover in him, eyeing the coach’s niece Harpreet (played by Taapsee Pannu) refuses to die down and provides him with a reason to 'stick' on. This bit could remind you of Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma-starrer Sultan, where a lovestruck Sultan takes on wrestling to impress the woman he desires.
Diljit’s transformation from an innocent lover-boy in the first half to an aggressive and mature hockey player in the second forms the crux of the story. The tragic period of his life, the gunshot that leaves him immovable for a year, brings about an emotional graph into the narrative. Angad Bedi as his elder brother Bikramjeet Singh, the man responsible for his magical drag flick is well-suited for the part and Taapsee Pannu as Harpreet is pretty. We also have Satish Kaushik, as his helpless yet emotional father and Vijay Raaz, as his supportive coach, bringing their A-game on to the table. Well, Vijay Raaz has earned himself the best punches while Diljit has some one-liners in between too, providing for good comic relief. Kulbhushan Kharbanda in a brief role of a supportive federation chairman is endearing as well.
Being a biopic, the makers have sought some liberty in terms of dramatization of certain scenes, but what they bring to the fore, is an emotionally inspiring tale with a first half that drags a little. The actors, though, stay true to their parts. The music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy takes the story ahead but is hardly an album that will play on a loop. The romantic track Ishq Di Baajiyaan crooned by Diljit himself is perhaps the only exception. Shaad Ali has had a tough time delivering at the box office in the past. Soorma has all the ingredients to change that. Having said that while Soorma is no Chak De! India, it has its own personality. One that you will find both engaging and interesting.