Verdict - An inspiring and entertaining movie about the triumph of the human spirit.
Soorma is the true life story of Arjuna Award winner Sandeep Singh, an exceptional hockey player who holds the record of the fastest drag flick in the world. His story is unusual because he made a miraculous recovery from a bullet shot that had paralysed him from the waist down, to lead India’s hockey team subsequently.
Sports movies are always inspiring. Soorma is not a typical sports movie in that it doesn’t focus so much on India’s win or team but rather one individual’s personal victory over what seem to be unsurmountable circumstances. It is a personal growth story too as Sunny evolves from a young lovestruck boy who wants to play hockey for India to win the heart of his beloved to playing the game to win for his country.
The movie has a very down-to-earth no fuss feel about it. Sandeep is from small town Shahbad and the setting puts you in a mood for a straightforward narrative. The family is simple and their love for each other and support to each other warms your heart. The bursts of tears and emotions don’t feel melodramatic or exaggerated at all. The love story between Sunny and Harpreet is sweet and innocent without any major histrionics.
The story works because of this lack of histrionics. Sandeep’s recovery from his accident is not shown in any heroic manner. He is full of self-pity, anger and weeps copious tears at this plight and his losses. But yet he soldiers on in a non-fussy way, doing the arduous physiotherapy that brings him back to hockey. There are also no major villains in the story which is quite unlike the usual sports movies where either the Sports Federation officials or nasty coaches do the person in. There are two such characters but they are weak and don’t really take away the focus from the main story.
Diljit’s is truly a dil jeetnewala performance. His younger Sandeep has a shy innocence and impetuousness that endears him to you. The evolution of this young, carefree person into the Sandeep who is a wizard on the field is slow and the Sandeep that Diljit manages to show us towards the end is a far cry from the one at the start except for that winning smile that will melt your heart. He sings also very well and this is an added bonus. Tapsee Pannu as Harpreet once again takes on an athletic persona and she shows us some believable (especially to a novice like me) hockey moves. She is sweet in the romantic scenes. Vijay Raaz as the coach who believes in him gets the funny lines which make him likeable. Satish Kaushik makes a cute dad. But the person who you really end up admiring is Angad Bedi as Sunny’s elder brother who is really the wind beneath his wings. His is a superb, heartwarming performance.
The movie is a tad too long and could have done with fewer songs. It could have moved at a slightly faster pace but still, it manages to keep you pretty much interested. As a child, I used to love reading stories in Reader’s Digest of the triumph of the human spirit over all sorts of obstacles. This is one such movie. You won’t be disappointed if you decide to watch it. Great for kids too.