Diljit Dosanjh plays Sandeep Singh in Soorma.
Diljit Dosanjh plays Sandeep Singh in Soorma.

Meet Sandeep Singh, the hockey star Diljit Dosanjh plays in Soorma

Soorma is a biopic on former India hockey captain Sandeep Singh, played by Diljit Doanjh in the film. Here’s his real story.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Rohit Vats
UPDATED ON JUL 12, 2018 09:35 PM IST

Former India hockey captain Sandeep Singh is probably the most famous resident of the lazy Shahabad town in Haryana’s Kurukshetra area. He made headlines much before his game picked up and he was given the team captaincy. A biopic called Soorma was a long, long way off in the early 2000s.

In 2006, the player who was yet to make a name for himself was accidentally shot on a Delhi-bound train. The bullet ripped the sides of his right abdomen. It was a life-threatening injury, but he returned to the national team in 2008. This time, more determined than ever.

Sandeep Singh’s house in Shahabad, Haryana.
Sandeep Singh’s house in Shahabad, Haryana.

He was travelling by the same train after a gap of 12 years when I asked about his tremendous willpower. Sandeep, a 32-year-old and 6-feet tall smiling gym freak, said, “We used to live in Patiala in the early ‘90s. I was hardly six or seven, can’t remember the exact age. There was a devastating flood, at least four feet water was inside the house. For good 14-15 days, we survived without proper food. Probably this was the incident that triggered our willpower.”

Recently, teams from different media organisations were called to visit Sandeep’s house where Diljit Dosanjh, who plays the hockey player in forthcoming film Soorma, was supposed to meet them.

The Singh family with Diljit Dosanjh.
The Singh family with Diljit Dosanjh.

However, it didn’t bother a passerby who enquired about the frenzy. On being told the reason, he questioned, “Who is Diljit Dosanjh?” Dosanjh is perhaps the biggest star in Punjab now and a player in the Hindi film industry. But in Shahbad, the real star is Sandeep. When the man realised that it’s about a film, he said, “Sandeep ke ghar aaya hai (Has he come to Sandeep’s house)?”

While addressing the media, Diljit said that Sandeep never met the guy who was carrying the rifle which was fired by mistake. The then 20-year-old chose to overcome the pain.

As Sandeep said on the train, “My mother says that I have abnormal capacity to tolerate pain. It’s the first step to win over adversaries. I preferred to not take painkillers even when I was in the hospital after getting shot. I thought these injections will harm me in the longer run.”

It’s debatable whether he was the fastest drag-flickers in the world or not, but his drag-speed was definitely dangerous. Some commentators believed it was around 145 kmph. At that speed, it’s like operating in the line of fire. Sandeep said, “I was shot around 8:15 in the morning and the operation started around 4 in the evening. I was still talking to the people around me.” talking about his life’s philosophy, he said, “I don’t want sadness or happiness to affect my life. There was a new found maturity. Even my game changed.”

The turf that made Sandeep Singh a hockey star.
The turf that made Sandeep Singh a hockey star.

He didn’t want the conversation to digress, or he might be trying to lead it in a certain way. He added, “I talk to myself before going to sleep. I don’t want to let unnecessary emotions get better of me.”

What are his expectations from Soorma? After all, this is his chance to become a legend. Films have done that in the past. He said, “I have met people who have called me the god of hockey, but in my head, I know who I am.”

Whatever be the fate of Soorma, it was clear Sandeep had thought it through. Directed by Shaad Ali, Soorma will hit the screens on July 13, 2018. It also features Taapsee Pannu in an important role.

Interact with Rohit Vats at Twitter/@nawabjha

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