A little town Shahbad in Punjab has young people working really, really hard to make it to the team, any team. But young Sandeep is in the eye of the storm for being a slacker. And coach sir (played with brilliant cruelty by Danish Husain) is unforgiving. He knows that there are many kids hungry to get on to a team and only strict discipline will get you there. Sandeep is ready to take on the punishment meted to him, but has a rebellious streak, which earns him severe beatings. Especially because his attention is distracted by a pretty, sassy hockey player Harpreet (Tapsee Pannu). His brother Bikramjit Singh is also a hockey player (but does not get selected to the India team) discovers that Sundeep (relegated to looking after the crops after severe beating from the coach) has a rare talent. That talent is flicking the ball into the goal which earns him the title of 'Flicker Singh' and a place in the Indian team.
The film has been written with a great sense of humor which makes you want to be part of Sandeep's family. Diljit Dosanjh plays Sandeep Singh convincingly. He has a natural charm that wins the audience over easily. And yes, he can dance! His romance with Tapsee Pannu is very sweet and fun, a quality not seen in recent crop of Bollywood films. Angad Bedi who plays the older brother is surprisingly good. The connection between the brothers is enviable and will bring a lump to even the most cynical throats. The film is shot beautifully and intimately, which makes the first half a breezy watch.
The second half though is as painful as Sandeep Singh's rehabilitation from a paralysing injury. It drags on and on so by the time we reach the final grudge match between India and Pakistan, you are tried. You do not come away as joyous and overwhelmed as you did after you watched Chak De. You are just awed by the fact that Sandeep Singh holds the record for the world's fastest flick even today, but glad that the film is over. Hockey is not cricket in India. But definitely the choice of sport in the North. The music is inspiring and the love song (Ishq di baajiyaan) is eminently hummable. 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.
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