Bollywood biopic celebrates shot Indian hockey hero

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MUMBAI, July 12, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The remarkable story of an Indian hockey
player who spent two years out of the game after being accidentally shot
before returning to captain his country hits cinemas this week.

Sandeep Singh was travelling on a train in August 2006 when he was struck
by a bullet that had been mistakenly fired by an officer of India’s Railway
Protection Force.

The incident left Singh temporarily paralysed and many commentators
speculated that his career was over, but after extensive treatment he
returned to the national side in 2008 and later helped India towards a silver
medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

“It’s a very compelling story. The day I read about it I couldn’t put it
down,” Shaad Ali, director of “Soorma”, which means “warrior” in Punjabi and
Hindi, told AFP.

The Bollywood movie based on Singh’s life releases across India on Friday.
Diljit Dosanjh plays the role of Singh while Taapsee Pannu is cast in the
female lead.

Singh, then a promising young player, was on his way to join his teammates
before their departure for the Men’s Hockey World Cup in Germany when he was
shot.

Instead, he spent much of the next year in a wheelchair as he battled to
regain the feeling in his legs. He then regained his fitness and place in
India’s team.

Singh went on to be considered one of India’s best drag flickers,
captaining the national side to victory in the prestigious Sultan Azlan Shah
Cup in 2009.

“Those two years were very difficult and I’m sure those watching the movie
can see the struggle and sacrifice (my family made),” Singh told AFP.

The 32-year-old, who currently works as a police officer, worked closely
with the filmmakers to help choreograph the hockey moves in the movie.

Singh, who has seen parts of the biopic ahead of its release, said he
thought Dosanjh had done “a wonderful job” portraying him.

“The movie is like a flashback of my life. What I did in my real life I can
see similar things on the big screen,” he said.

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