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It’s a Shame: Sandeep Singh On Major Dhyan Chand Not Been Honoured With Bharat Ratna Yet

Image courtesy: Instagram/Sandeep Singh

Image courtesy: Instagram/Sandeep Singh

Sandeep Singh Singh says he is ashamed that a player of Chand’s stature has not been given Bharat Ratna honour, yet.

While it still remains debatable whether the Indian cricket has taken precedence over other sports, Bollywood has seemingly taken upon itself to give due recognition to other sports stars by showcasing the achievements of great players on the big screen.

From athletics, boxing to hockey, Indian film industry has all sorts of sports biopics to offer. And now, Diljit Dosanjh-starrer Soorma is all set to be the latest addition to the list.

The film - based on former India hockey captain Sandeep Singh - tells an inspirational story about his miraculous comeback in the game after being accidentally shot at and seriously injured on board the New Delhi-bound Kalka-Delhi Shatabdi Express in 2006.

“I don’t think any sports biopic has so far had such kind of story. In fact, I was also not aware of it myself. My producers told me that this kind of story has never been told before on screen,” says Singh as he sits for an exclusive chat with News18.com.

“People who followed hockey know who I am and that I have been the captain of the national hockey team, but they don’t know about my struggles after being shot at. Soorma will bring all those things to the forefront.”

From helping India clinch the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2009, after a long wait of 13 years, to gaining the title of 'Flicker Singh' as he was said to have the best speed in the world in drag flick, Singh’s contribution to Indian hockey is immense.

Singh considers himself lucky to have got an opportunity to be among the ones whose life story has become a part of the big screen.

“Never did I in my wildest dreams think that one day there’d be a biopic on me. Honestly, I feel that we should always be happy with what we have. If at all, we don’t get what we want then we should always fight for it, but criticising or cribbing about it won’t help us,” adds Sandeep on being asked if he has got his due on the field.

Recently, Dosanjh, who has gone through strength and drag-flicking training for Soorma, said that hockey should be given its due credit and be considered as India's national sport. His statement came after Odisha’s CM Naveen Patnaik requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to acknowledge hockey as India’s National game.

Commenting on the same, Singh says, “Hockey has brought India pride many times. It’s the third largest sports in the world. The sports which are on number one and two spot don’t even have a history in India. Secondly, if we don’t want to recognize it as national game then we also shouldn’t celebrate August 28, hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand’s birth anniversary, as National Sports Day in India.”

Singh says he is ashamed that a player of Chand’s stature has not been given Bharat Ratna honour, yet. For the uninitiated, sports persons were earlier not eligible for the India’s highest civilian honour. In 2011, however, the government modified the rules of eligibility to include persons excelling in all fields of 'human endeavour'.

“It’s a shame that a person who has done India proud in so many occasions hasn’t been given the highest honour of the country, yet,” adds Sandeep.

Singh further says he is also trying his best that a film would be made on the legendary player. When asked about any particular person he wants to see portray Chand in his biopic, Singh says, “It should be played by a hockey player only. There are so many hockey players who are into acting these days. A big Bollywood star can also do the film, but he should be given proper training just like we have trained Diljit for 'Soorma'. For instance, if we talk about 'Chak De! India', it’s a great movie but there are a lot of mistakes in the film hockey wise, which real hockey players like me don’t really like.”