Many of you might not even have heard the name before watching the trailer or the movie “Soorma”, starring Diljit Dosanjh and Tapsee Pannu. Those of you who have not watched the movie, please go ahead and do it. This movie, will no doubt, make a place in your heart.
The movie is a biopic of Sandeep Singh who is a fighter and an absolute legend in the field of hockey as well as when it comes to life. To give you a clarity about this superhuman, we have come up with the true story behind this hockey legend.
Sandeep Singh made his international debut in hockey when he was just a 17-year-old lad in 2004 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Even though India stood last in that tournament, the same year, he became a part of the winning team in Asia Cup.
The next two years of his career were all gold when he made India proud by his and the team achievements, but it all came to a halt.
Sandeep was travelling by Shatabdi Express on 21st August 2006 to join the national team of India, and was about to leave for World Cup in two days. But he was hit by an accidental gunshot in the train which left him paralyzed waist down for a year.
Sandeep proved to be a legend when he still didn’t give up on hockey. Within a year, he didn’t just stand back on his feet but also resumed to play hockey and led the country to multiple victories.
When asked about his motivation to stand back on his feet, he said that he wanted to stand on his feet again and for the motivation he asked his brother to keep his hockey stick right in front of his eyes, as it will be a constant reminder for him that he has to play for India again.
His journey to healing was no doubt difficult but he always had the support of his family. His wife, Harjinder Kaur, who was also a hockey player, always stood next to him and even gave up on her career to support Sandeep.
Although she herself said tat she never left him through his dark times, this bit is highly dramatized in the movie. It depicts that she abandoned him after the accident and his only motivation to get back on his feet was to play for the country.
Another pillar of support who helped him get back on his feet was his brother Bikramjeet Singh. He was the one who encouraged Sandeep to take up hockey as a teenager and he was the one who helped him get on his feet after the paralysis.
Although he was helped by a lot of people to stand on his feet again, but the struggles weren’t just physical, they were financial too.
In an interview, Sandeep mentioned about the time when they used to live in rented house and when he was shot, the landlord asked them to vacate. But he also says that these tough times and the support that he got from everyone made him stronger and better than he was ever before.
About his experiences of getting accepted and coming back to the team, he says that he was able to walk and even run for a bit but no one thought that he will be able to play for the country again. He kept practicing and almost seven months later, he contributed for the zonal team and was eventually accepted by the federation to be included in team India.
He got chance in 2008 Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament, the tournament that he started his career with. He emerged as a top scorer by scoring 8 goals and was made team captain in 2009. He even led the team to winning Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy in 2009, after 13 years of wait.
In the movie, there is a tournament called “Commonwealth Championship” which shows the final to be played between India and Pakistan, in which India won and bagged the trophy. But this never really happened as there is no Commonwealth Championship in hockey.
Sandeep Singh went through a lot of struggles and came up as a hero, as a legend. We definitely didn’t need as much masala as the movie has given us. However, watching Soorma can at least give you a gist of troubles that he went through and how he came out to be a superstar of hockey, and that is definitely a good thing.