In a string of biopics that have been made and a few that are in the pipeline, hockey player and ex-captain of the Indian National team Sandeep Singh’s biopic Soorma, has created quite a stir. The film traces the story of International hockey player Sandeep Singh (played by Diljit Dosanjh), who was paralyzed and wheel-chair bound for two years after he got injured because of an accidental gunshot in 2006. Overcoming all odds, Sandeep once again stood tall and made a comeback on turf in 2008. Under his captaincy in 2009, India won Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, and also qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games.
The role of Sandeep Singh in the film is essayed by Diljit Dosanjh, who is absolutely floored by the kind of hero the hockey player is. We recently caught up with the innocent Punjabi munda and he opened up about his experience working in Soorma, his trysts while training with Sandeep, how he felt when the sportsperson’s father gifted him Sandeep’s hockey and much more. Excerpts:
How are you feeling right now?Abhi to thik hi lagg raha hai (laughs).
How was the experience of working in Soorma like?The experience of working on the film was very nice, and so was the team. In fact, work on the script was completed and homework was done by the entire team, so when I went for filming, I only had to focus on learning hockey and acting. Shooting for the film was so much fun that I didn’t even realise when the process got over.
What made you say ‘yes’ to Soorma?The story of the film itself. It doesn’t seem like a real story, but a film story that someone has written. I couldn’t believe it at first. To be honest, I felt sorry that not many know about Sandeep paaji. He is a world champion and his drag flick is the fastest. Nobody yet has been able to beat his record. I feel bad because hockey is not getting the kind of support it should. We all are at fault. I am too. Felt awful that apne bande ne world record banaya and we didn’t even know about it.
What’s the difference between doing a Hindi and a Punjabi film? When I do a Punjabi film, there is a lot of work to do. I sing, bring the team together, write dialogues. While in a Hindi film I am much more relaxed because the entire team is there and there isn’t much to do.
How difficult/easy was it to play a hockey player?It was tough. I have never played hockey before, in fact, I have never been interested in any sport since the very beginning. However, albeit it was difficult, it was fun. It is always fun to do challenging things. What we haven’t done before is amusing, while what we have tried our hands at, gets repetitive.
Who trained you for the role?Sandeep paaji himself trained me.
So was he a strict teacher?Na ji. Unhone bahut pyar se sikhaya aur bahut pyar se main seekh bhi gaya.
What is Sandeep Singh like in real life?Sadeep paaji is extremely nice, lovely and calm. He started playing hockey also with love, but the incident where he got shot changed his journey and everthing.
What about Sandeep do you find inspiring?The fact that he never gave up. When he was told he will never be able to walk again, he didn’t lose hope, was strong and achieved the unachievable.
How do you choose your roles? What kind of films would you like to take up?I don’t choose my films on the basis of anything in particular. I take up a film that my heart says ‘yes’ to. Also, I am open to everything, whatever comes my way. I, myself can’t make a Hindi film, so whatever is offered and whatever I like from them, I take up.
How was it working with Taapsee Pannu?It was great fun. She is an amazing actress. I must say that she is hardworking and pretty confident about her work.
Ayushmann Khuranna said in one of his interviews that being an actor and singer makes him different from the rest. Do you think being a singer and actor is an advantage for you too?I don’t think there is an advantage. As an actor, you fetch acting roles, while for singing you will get songs to croon.
Sandeep’s father recently gifted you his son’s hockey stick. How did you feel?I was overwhelmed. It is a big thing coming from a father. I don’t think I am capable enough to receive such a gift and I probably don’t deserve it, but since he did that out of love…..pyar me toh sab jayaz hai.
After Soorma, Arjun Patiala is in the pipeline. What kind of transformation and preparation was required to get into the role of a quirky small time boy from a hockey player?Nothing as such. Soorma has tagda logic, is a real story, while Arjun Patiala is a story for haha hehe hoho, for laughing. When people will watch the latter, they will have a hearty laugh and enjoy tadak bhadak wale gane. Soorma too has pyar and mohabbat, drama, action, and is definitely a proper Bollywood masala film. The only difference between the two films is that one is real and the other fictional.
Future projects?Abhi to bas Soorma release ho jaye fir aage ka plan banate hai.
So there isn’t anything in the pipeline?A lot of things are there, par bolne me kya rakha hai!
Well, along the same lines, not much is known about your personal life. Why do you keep it in wraps?It is rightly said that while you eat you mustn’t say anything and talk about only those things that are done. Faltu rodaa nai paalna.