Movies based on sports are all about the adrenalin rush, the victory of the underdog, players and teams overcoming ‘evil’ opposition and, of course, pride of the country at the forefront. Soorma is none of that, yet it is a movie filled with positivity, determination and humanity. In one line, Soorma is a prime example of ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way’. That’s what Sandeep Singh is all about. The movie is based on Singh’s life and how he beat crushing odds to become one of our country’s iconic sportspersons. Right from the word go, the film keeps you hooked. This is an inspiring story told emotionally with entertainment thrown in. There is also a brilliant love story woven into it. What enhances the experience is the stunning performance by one and all. This film is not just about Sandeep Singh and his journey but also about his relationship with his brother, his father, mother, girlfriend and his coach. Everything is so positive that you leave the auditorium with a smile on your face. That’s the impact of the film.
A young Sandeep runs away from hockey training, unable to bear the bullying and torture of the coach Kartar Singh. His brother Bikramjeet endures as his aim is to play for India. While Bikram is busy on the hockey field, Sandeep is busy chasing away birds in his uncle’s fields. At an age when taking up a sport and excelling in it is not easy, Sandeep is driven towards hockey. The reason for his sudden love for the game is a hockey player Harpreet. It is his love for her that makes him take to hockey and endure the severe training under Kartar. Harpreet reciprocates Sandeep’s feelings but Kartar, who is also her uncle, is not in favour of this relationship.
During this time, Bikram, who has not been able to make it to the Indian team, discovers his brother’s exceptional talent for the drag-and-flick shot, considered one of the most difficult shots in the game. Bikram then takes Sandeep to Patiala and enrols him in the sports institute. Under the tutelage of coach Harry, Sandeep not only makes it to the Indian team, he becomes known in the hockey world as ‘Flicker Singh’. Now with a job and the India jersey on his back, Sandeep feels that nothing can stop him from getting the love of his life, Harpreet. But an accidental shooting leaves him paralysed below the waist. The rest of the film is about his struggle to play for his country again.
Soorma stays away from the usual clichés of sports dramas and biopics and focuses on the emotional journeys of the characters. The writers have kept the emotions subtle, without compromising on what they want to say. Those who are used to melodramatic speeches, overly-dramatised scenes involving tournaments and games, edge-of-the-seat moments may feel a little underwhelmed by the narrative. But that is where Soorma stands out from other sports-based films. It stays true to the biopic genre by making it all about the central character while also giving the other characters their due.
In movies like this, music plays a vital role as it does in this film. Ishq di baajiyan and the title track are the most memorable songs. A special mention must be made of the camerawork. The real Sandeep Singh and Bikramjeet Singh were involved in choreographing the games and this is clearly reflected on screen. Performance-wise, Soorma belongs to Diljit Dosanjh. He charms as Sandeep Singh. As the hopeless lover and the fierce sportsman, he is convincing in every frame. His interactions with Taapsee Pannu (Harpreet) are cute and lovable. The bromance between Sandeep and Bikram is translated well on screen by Dosanjh and Angad Bedi. Bedi is outstanding.
The best and funniest lines in the film have been reserved for Harry, played by Vijay Raaz. As the compassionate coach, he is perfect. Satish Kaushik as Sandeep’s father brings the required pathos to the character. Danish Husain as Kartar Singh is very good. Kulbhushan Kharbanda as the hockey federation chairman is dignified. Others lend adequate support.