Diljit Dosanjh initially rejected the offer to play Indian hockey player Sandeep Singh in his biopic, Soorma, as he wanted to stay away from sports films, but after he learnt about the almost-miraculous story of Sandeep’s life, the actor says, he felt fortunate to have been approached for the part.
Soorma tells the story of Sandeep, a professional hockey player and former captain of the Indian national team. Sandeep was injured after hit by an accidental gunshot in a train in 2006 but he did not give up and continued playing.
Today, during a special media interaction to promote Soorma, which releases on July 13, Diljit spoke about how Sandeep’s eventful life made him say yes to the film.
“What I knew was it was a hockey film and there were already a lot of sports films being made and I thought it was better to stay away from the genre. I told them, ‘I would do anything else for you guys for free but not this.’ Then they asked me to hear the script once. After listening to the script, I realised I was stupid to have said no to the film,” Diljit said.
The actor further revealed that he felt ashamed for being unaware about the struggle that Sandeep went through to make a comeback.
“I knew that he was a captain but didn’t know he was shot on his back. When I started playing hockey I realised the entire game relies on your back – you have to bend to play it. So the pressure is double. What I didn’t know was, how a man who was shot, stood up, recovered and made a world record. It was shameful (that I didn’t know about him).”
The film also stars Taapsee Pannu in the road role. The actor shared that even she felt embarrassed that she had no knowledge about Sandeep, who is one of the youngest hockey stars of India.
“For me the biggest thrill was that I got to do a sports film. Especially a sport which I haven’t ever played.
“There was a little embarrassment too, that being an Indian and a sports enthusiast, I didn’t know about the story, wasn’t aware of the person. So there was a guilt that why we weren’t aware. It is just probably a way to rectify it, that let us be the medium to present his story. I hope now no one else says the same after the film,” Diljit added.
Sandeep Singh went on to train Diljit and Taapsee himself for Soorma. The film has been directed by Shaad Ali, who has helmed movies like Saathiya and Bunty Aur Babli. He last directorial was Ok Jaanu. Soorma also stars Angad Bedi, as Sandeep’s elder brother.