'Soorma' isn't a befittingly jingoistic or feeble biographical film: instead it goes from the rousing, via evocative, to the soaring aspects of the filmmaking. While Diljeet Dosanjh is refreshing, Taapsee Paannu brings surprises in her leading lady. The excellent cast also does well.
But the scriptwriting is the best thing about 'Soorma'. It never flickers, even when it doesn't show enough light to the circumstances. It is a film that mugs up all of it lazily towards the climax, but finally, you stay with the film, despite these contrivances.
It's been an exciting month for sports lovers with many high profile tournaments happening across the globe such as the World Cup, Wimbledon, Champions Trophy etc. Even the film industry have sought inspiration from such athletes over the years & have made biopics on them such as "Mary Kom", "M.S Dhoni", "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" etc. The latest to join this list is "Soorma" which is based on our ace drag flicker, Sandeep Singh who went through a career ending accident & rose from the ashes like a phoenix. With another biopic "Sanju" going great guns at the box office, it remains to be seen whether this will evoke similar reactions from the audience.
Over the years, we have had some incredible hockey players & a significant number of them hailed from Punjab. Sandeep Singh (Diljit Dosanjh) was also from the same state & thrust into the game pretty young to follow in the footsteps of his brother Bikram (Angad Bedi). However, he didnt pursue it for long as he detested his coach Kartar Singh (Danish Hussain), who was an extremely tough task master. But he decided to take up his hockey stick many years later, in order to impress Harpreet (Tapsee Pannu), a fellow player; rather than love for the game. It so turned out that he gets moulded into a brilliant player under the watchful eyes of Coach Harry (Vijay Raaz) & attracts the attention of the Hockey Federation who inducts him into the national team without fail. But even before he could make a significant mark, his career was cut short by an accidental gun shot into his spine which left him hemiplegic. The rest of the movie tracks his journey from the bed to the pinnacle of the game.
Biopics has been one of the most favoured genres in our industry in recent times & Shaad Ali, known for movies like "Saathiya", "Bunty Aur Babli", "Ok Jaanu" etc., decided to give it a try. The first half was fine as it basically tracked Sandeep's journey from childhood to the time he began to make a name for himself. It's the latter half which actually get us invested in the story & steadily builds to the climax. The highlight of the movie is the excellent star cast, each of whom was perfect for the role & gave a sincere performance. However, it does have its share of pitfalls as well & that's primarily coz of the lack of exciting moments on the hockey field, the rather ordinary manner in which the games were choreographed, team dynamics & Tapsee reduced to merely a muse rather than the talented player that she is portrayed as. The music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy was praise worthy & in sync with the mood while Chirantan Das's visuals were fine.
As mentioned earlier, each & every artist has done an impressive job. Diljit was perfect as the protagonist who exudes charm & conveys all range of emotions with utter ease. It was hard to believe that he isnt a hockey player as his body language, aggression etc all seemed natural. Angad Bedi had me stumped with his excellent act & hopefully, more film makers will give him meaty roles. The same amount of praise applies to the rest as well such as Tapsee, Vijay Raaz, Sathish Kaushik, Seema Kaushal etc.
Verdict: Sandeep Singh was instrumental in India winning the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2009 & led the nation to the 2012 Olympics. However, his biopic is unlikely to make as much of an impact despite the excellent & sincere performances by the artists. It is nowhere near the league of "Chak De" even though the core story that it conveys is equally as intense. There is no doubt that "Sanju" made matters tough but if more thought had gone into the screenplay, it would have done much better business at the box-office. Anywaz, it's still worth a one time-watch!!!