I tend to give films based on true life stories benefit of doubt. Fine, they must have exaggerated this. Fine, they might have skipped that. Fine, it is likely that they embellished this detail. But, in the big picture this person went through all that and against all odds, achieved such-and-such. If taking cinematic liberties is what it takes to get the audience interested, so be it. Unfortunately, Soorma uses all the above tropes to slow the film’s pace down and make the proceedings ‘meh’.
both the script and the screenplay didn’t ask the actors for more.
The first culprit is the uneven pace. Way too much time is spent on Sandeep Singh’s rise to the Indian team while the conflict and the resolution are wrapped up without conviction – as if they knew they had nothing new to say and all stories of rehabilitating sportspeople is pretty much the same.
I found Sandeep Singh’s focus on his reason for playing hockey worth exploring. It was refreshing how a team game was being aced because of an individualistic goal. Maybe it is not how you play a team sport and maybe in real life it is looked down upon. Interestingly, the hockey games shown aslo come across Sandeep Singh vs. the other team rather than India vs. the other team. That went with the theme of the film.
But, then his sudden drive for a “common” aim seemed out-of-character and came out-of-the-blue. Sure, in real-life that must be how it played out. That made me even more curious and amazed at the convoluted justifications people give themselves for behaving in a particular way, instead of having a clear conversation.
This ambiguity which might be coming from real-life, adds to the superficiality of what happens in the film. Sandeep Singh’s girlfriend, Harpreet’s weird behaviour, the politics in the hockey federation all seem half-baked.
That makes two things solely responsible for taking Soorma to a “watchable” level. The “big picture” real-life story that one might not have known and the performances. Diljit Dosanjh and Tapsee Pannu make their characters believable. Angad Bedi adds his fair bit quite convincingly too. Vijay Raaz, Satish Kaushik, and the local hockey coach came across as caricatures played well.
With this cast, it wasn’t really the question of whether they will emote as required. They are a strong bunch who could have worked much harder. But, both the script and the screenplay didn’t ask the actors for more. By the time, the real conflict came about way past the half-time mark, it was going to be a uphill task for the movie to go beyond it’s 1-line plot.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Deccan Chronicle : ...If you are looking for an unusual story of an unsung hero, go and watch Soorma. Promise, it’s not a glorification of an Indian sportsman on silver screen. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Watch the film for the truly inspirational story, which can be said to be one of the biggest comebacks in Indian sports history. You'll leave the theatre with your faith intact in both the human spirit and Indian hockey... ... full review
Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...With Soorma, Ali confidently gets to the centre, keeps his impulses under check, and plays it totally narrow, and fully straight. And, yes, he hits home, alright. This is possibly his best work yet. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Soorma applauds a deserving figure who has received national honours but sadly, hasn’t been celebrated with the same fervour. A worthy hat-tip!... full review
Thumbs up, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...oorma ensures that this triumphal journey of the human spirit is full of surprises. The checklist remains in place, but this saga of heartbreak and heroism also has undeniable heart.... full review
Thumbs up, Sify Movies : ...If Sandeep Singh was nicknamed 'Flicker Singh' this film takes that flicker into sphere of a burning flame. Soorma just makes you happy for the unsung heroes whom cinema has the power and reach to put on a pedestal. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Ronak Kotecha, Times of India : ...So if you want to know when, why, how and what happened to Sandeep Singh, Soorma is the name of the game. It is a story told with its heart in the right place, and on that count it scores. Only that, it shows you the reality, minus the melodrama. ... full review
So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...So even if SOORMA is an average film, it still has a powerful message to share that can lift up your spirits to continue the struggle called LIFE and successfully overcome its hurdles. ... full review
So-So, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, SOORMA is laced with a promising plot but the weak execution hampers the impact. The buzz is very low and at the box office, it should do better in the North compared to the rest of the country. ... full review
So-So, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...For instance, the story of Sandeep Singh is incredible – here’s a man who not only became India’s most prolific goal scorer and a world-class drag flicker, but also recovered from a grave gunshot wound and waist-down paralysis to lead the national team again. It already has all the necessary elements. Why on earth would a storyteller want to manufacture more conflict? ... full review
So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Which is a pity because Dosanjh looks completely at home both off and on the field (reports say that Sandeep Singh helped in choreographing the play). The solid supporting cast helps us get past the movie’s many glycerined moments: Angad Bedi, as the older brother who lives his dreams of being in the national team through his sibling, is credible.... full review
So-So, by Nilesh Ramchadani, Kia Gia : ...On the whole, 'Soorma' is a one-time watch just to see Diljit Dosanjh pouring his soul in the character of Sandeep Singh. You can skip it and wait for 'Gold' if watching a sports-biopic is in your watch-soon wish-list. ... full review
So-So, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, despite remarkable performances by everyone Soorma is a disappointment as a movie. The story of Sandeep Singh needed a detailed narration which gets narrowed down to a paper-thin plot in Soorma. Watch it just for Diljit Dosanjh, Taapsee Pannu & Vijay Raaz. ... full review
So-So, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, Live Mint : ...Dosanjh brings an innocence and quiet to the character, which works well when Singh is in the early stages of his arc, but as the drama builds, the onscreen engagement wanes... full review
So-So, by Divya Pal, News18.com : ...Considering the fact that Singh – an Arjuna awardee - created a world record for the drag flick, led the Indian national hockey team, and have 2012 Summer Olympics to his credit, the hockey matches shot for Soorma lack the power of international games. Since most of the viewers have watched Chak De! India and are aware of its impact, you are bound to miss the frenzy. ... full review
So-So, by Manisha Lakhe, Now Running.com : ...The Soorma anthem is memorable, but the dance number is so Punjabi, and not easy to understand at all. Despite many wonderful things, this film feels like a drag. Perhaps some day, a hockey film will inspire us as Chak De did.... full review
So-So, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...The mainstay of Soorma is, of course, Dosanjh in the titular role. He traverses the span of his character with sheer ease—a charmer as the shy, innocent, bumbling lover and mesmeric as the sportsman with the killer attitude. Here’s an actor who is effortlessly nuanced in his simplicity and it’s he who makes the flirtation with Taapsee Pannu winsome, warm and sweet. She responds well but when on her own seems to get bogged down by an inexplicable righteousness. ... full review
So-So, by Rummana, yahoo! India : ...The flaws notwithstanding, I would recommend ‘Soorma’. This is an inspiring story that needed to be told and needs to be watched. The movie may lack the sheen of some recent biopics, but I’d still say you go and watch it. Indian hockey, which probably deserves much more, deserves nothing less. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Anna MM Vertticad, FirstPost : ...But it is a pity that Ali and his team manage to draw us into the pages of his world only up to a point but mess up the most important chapter. Diljit Dosanjh and Angad Bedi are always worth watching, but the film should have been a lot more than what it ends up being.... full review
Thumbs down, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...The problem though is in giving the faux romance (Taapsee Pannu as romantic fodder) too much meaning when Sandeep Singh’s heroics alone would have done the trick. I guess it would take a better director to tell the truth, as is- Shaad Ali certainly can’t lay claim to that distinction, neither can this side-tracked reflection of a valorous life! ... full review
Thumbs down, by Rohit Vats, Hindustan Times : ...Soorma doesn’t attempt to probe beyond the obvious, even if you don’t know the real story. With 131-minute duration, Soorma presents Sandeep as the ultimate boy scout. A tinge of reality wouldn’t have hurt. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...Thankfully, the one person who does score is Dosanjh. The Punjabi star is charming as a besotted young man and convincing as the driven sportsman, hardly missing a beat even as the script succumbs to patriotic chest-thumping in the guise of competitive spirit. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Come to think of it, the Shimit Amin film was made over a decade ago. Why hasn't the Mumbai movie industry delivered another sports drama quite that good? The reason is obvious: Bollywood just doesn't do sports well. Its rules militate against the genre. Soorma, a wasted opportunity, demonstrates why and how.... full review
ZaalimaOberoi: Just watched #Soorma I need to digest it overnight, i am just in awe
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UnicornSudhir: Thanks Diljit Veer ji @diljitdosanjh for such a lovely Movie #Soorma Love you pa ji.
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SwatiAarini: #Soorma is A Must Must Watch. @diljitdosanjh & @taapsee Have done JUSTICE to a Brave Fighter's Story.
Swagi_Patola: #Soorma such as inspirational role in the movie
Ssingh_84: Watched First Day First Show of #Soorma @diljitdosanjh Such a great and phenomenal performance
sri_krishna44: Just saw #soorma. @diljitdosanjh's character portrayal is outstanding. Entire cast gave their best. Best wishes to the entire team.
Simranjaggi3: acting means @diljitdosanjh you are brilliant diljit what a superb acting in #Soorma we are proud of you!!!!
ShivdeepBrar: Superb performance @diljitdosanjh #Soorma Must watch #SoormaReview
Shashipedia: #Soorma Ek number Movie.
Sahibjeet7700: Soorma Love #DiljitDosanjh @diljitdosanjh
Saharcristina71: #Soorma is the best movie ever
RanjitRawat007: What a great movie( soorma) of Sandeep singh !! “ sportsman’s spirit never dies” Must watch !
preetmatharu14: Happiest day in my life 13th July 2018 because @diljitdosanjh paaji retweet my tweet...
PavanReddyLeo: #Soorma Rocking #fantastic #stupendous congratulations
officialsukhe0: Watched #SOORMA today sirrra movie
Nitish___Sharma: #SOORMA Punjab to belong karda na kaam wrong karda. @diljitdosanjh sir, you prove it. Wonderful and inspirational movie.
navdeep79534927: Amazing movie #Soorma ... totally a must watch ... @diljitdosanjh @Imangadbedi @taapsee ... Totally nailed it ... SHAAD ALI IS BACK
naresh2801: Soorma - some fantastic performances by @diljitdosanjh @taapsee movie of the year .. big fan paaji
My_VantagePoint: And special mention and thanks to @IChitrangda for producing such great content movie. #Soorma
KhalsaAngels99: #Soorma, is an emotional rollercosater of emotions and must watch film of 2018, @diljitdosanjh's best performance to date,#Godbless
karanjotpunjabi: hard work is done at #soorma movie.This movie shows your hard work with flying colours @diljitdosanjh bhaji
Its_JamieLever: Love it! #SoormaReview @diljitdosanjh You were amazing!
its_Beingsuraj: #SOORMA Inspirational comeback story What a film by shaad ali
InduPavutty: #soorma A truely inspirational movie Loved it
ImZeeshan_15: Chak De O Chak De Chak De #Sooooooooooooorma
iGovindNarayan: Just saw #soorma. @diljitdosanjh's character portrayal is outstanding. Entire cast gave their best. Best wishes to the entire team.
Iamshahazan: What a fabulous Movie Soorma Is Ye Nahi Dekha Toh Kya Dekha @diljitdosanjh Dil Jeet liya paaji apne apni acting se #SoormaReview #MustWatch
iamsanjusaini: after #Soorma @diljitdosanjh and sandeep paji both are the Real soorma
iaaryanx: Just watched #Soorma. One of the GREATEST COMEBACK STORY. @diljitdosanjh paaji, you totally nailed it
Harsima25081235: #soorma super hit movie
DEEPMANAS02: What a wonderful movie #SOORMA is!!
DeepakSandal11: Just watched #soorma great acting by @diljitdosanjh @taapsee what a legend #sandeepsingh....
deepak_raj89: Superb work. #MustWatch specially for all #sportsperson #DiljitDosanjh #TapseePannu brilliant. #Soorma specially #VijayRaaz
Chinmay_TI: What a beautiful movie #Soorma must watch film
charmi931: Watched #Soorma very inspiring story.. loved it!! @diljitdosanjh Full power
bhatia_manpreet: Move over cricket! Apart from Tendulkar, Gavaskar India has also produced a legend @flickersingh #Soorma is inspiring @diljitdosanjh (1/2)
beingDimple15: Wow What a wonderful movie #SOORMA is!!
being_ayash: #Soorma @diljitdosanjh paji u rocks
BarejaNaveen: Outstanding movie soorma paa ji u r great
ankuleo: Watched #Soorma Inspiring.
AjayKau23487717: Watched #Soorma Awesome work bhaji #DILJITDOSANJH Well inspirational movie... ✌✌✌✌
AbhayJIofficial: प्रेरक फ़िल्म #Soorma को देखने मे सिनेमाघर में सदैव की भांति खूबसूरत वातावरण की रचना हेतु @_PVRCinemas का बहुत धन्यवाद @PVRSupport
rbansal700: Vijay Raaz what an actor nailed his role in "Soorma" instead of Diljit they should have cast someone else overall one time watchable #Soorma
One_Nandu: #Soorma @diljitdosanjh worked way hard..but somewhere that punch was missing..!!
sachin2528: Oh #shaadali what a monster you have created! Such a promising script killed at your hands! #Soorma
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
A good hockey player being driven by his love interest meets with a disabling accident