July 11, 2018 / 8:11 AM / 8 months ago

Interview: Diljit Dosanjh on 'Soorma'

Diljit Dosanjh is a huge star in his native Punjab. The singer and actor also has a sporadic presence in Bollywood – he appeared in Abhishek Chaubey’s “Udta Punjab” in 2016 and in Anshai Lal’s “Phillauri” in 2017. This year, he plays the lead role in Shaad Ali’s biopic of hockey player Sandeep Singh, who recovered from a freak shooting accident to captain India.

Handout still from "Soorma".

Dosanjh spoke to Reuters about the film, “Soorma”, and whether his distance from Mumbai means he loses out on roles in Bollywood.

Q: Given that you don’t live here, is getting work in Mumbai and Bollywood difficult?

A: No. These days, most work happens on phone. You might have an office in the city, but people get in touch only on phone. And even if I did live here, I am not the type who goes for parties or stays in circulation. I prefer staying in touch with fans through my social media feeds.

Q: How important is Bollywood for you, given that you are a big star in Punjabi films?

A: All work is important, no matter who gives it to you. Whether it is a show or a Punjabi film or a Hindi film. I have never tried as such for a role. I worked in Punjabi films and I got other work. If I get an offer for a film, and I think I can do it, I say “yes”. I have not gone out of my way for a role.

Q: How did you get “Soorma”?

A: Shaad Ali and the Sony team came to me and said, “We want to do this film with you.” I was in a TV show called “Rising Star” with music director Shankar Mahadevan, and he told me about this project.

Q: Have you played hockey before?

A: No, absolutely not. I wasn’t even interested in the game. I was into music more than anything. A lot of my friends played but I never went to the ground.

Q: Is it difficult to play a sportsperson when you are not inclined to sports?

A: Sandeep Singh took charge of the hockey in the film – he taught me a lot. Shaad also worked on me. But I think what stood out for me was the story of his life. His bullet injury, his comeback and all of that. I think that is what will connect more with audiences.

Q: The body language of a sportsperson is different. Were you able to get that aspect right?

A: It took me about 15 days just to get the body language and the way he walks etc right. After that, we started working on the hockey technique. In sports films, I think it is important to get these things right, but it is also a combination of the emotional quotient in the film. We have to find a way to balance both.

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