Subtle and simple, ‘Soorma’ is unlike any other sports biopic

The film belongs to Dosanjh, who weaves through his part as dexterously as the real-life sports star plays on the field. (YouTube)
Updated 14 July 2018
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Subtle and simple, ‘Soorma’ is unlike any other sports biopic

  • Shaad Ali’s “Soorma” is the latest Bollywood sports biopic in a long line of films in the genre
  • Soorma stands out because of its ability to steer clear of cinematic sensationalism

CHENNAI: Shaad Ali’s “Soorma” is the latest Bollywood sports biopic in a long line of films in the genre — “Chak De India,” “Mary Kom,” “MS Dhoni: The Untold Story” and “Dangal.” However, Soorma stands out because of its ability to steer clear of cinematic sensationalism and exaggerated dramatic curves. Based on the life of Indian hockey player Sandeep Singh, Ali’s work relies on sheer simplicity to narrate an amazing story.
A turning point in Singh’s (played by Diljit Dosanjh) life came when he suffered a grievous spine injury while on his way to the World Cup — a gunshot wound left him in a wheelchair and seemingly unable to play. However, good times came knocking when the well-meaning boss (Kulbhushan Karbhanda) of a hockey academy and Singh’s own sarcastic and witty coach (Vijay Raaz) ensure that the player gets top notch medical treatment. Six months later, Singh is back not only in India, but also in the team and goes on to smash records.
Behind all this is Harpreet (portrayed with subtle brilliance by Taapsee Pannu), another hockey player who pushes Singh perfect his game. Interestingly, the romance between Harpreet and Sandeep is told without distracting from the main narrative as is so often the case when a love story plays out on screen.
If she helps him learn the finer points of the game, his elder brother Bikramjeet Singh (Angad Bedi) discovers that Singh has a rare talent which he seems to have developed while driving away birds from fields and it is the discovery and molding of this talent that is such a pleasure to watch as it unfolds on the big screen.
The film belongs to Dosanjh, who weaves through his part as dexterously as the real-life sports star plays on the field.


Hawking’s final book offers brief answers to big questions

Updated 15 October 2018
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Hawking’s final book offers brief answers to big questions

  • Hawking was forever being asked the same things and started work on “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” last year before he died
  • “He was regularly asked a set of questions,” his daughter Lucy Hawking said

LONDON: Stephen Hawking’s final work, which tackles issues from the existence of God to the potential for time travel, was launched on Monday by his children, who helped complete the book after the British astrophysics giant’s death.
Hawking was forever being asked the same things and started work on “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” last year — but did not finish it before he died in March, aged 76.
It has been completed by the theoretical physicist’s family and academic colleagues, with material drawn from his vast personal archive.
“He was regularly asked a set of questions,” his daughter Lucy Hawking said at the Science Museum in London.
The book was an attempt to “bring together the most definitive, clearest, most authentic answers that he gave.
“We all just wish he has here to see it.”
Hawking, who was wheelchair bound due to motor neurone disease, dedicated his life’s work to unraveling the mysteries of the universe.
The cosmologist was propelled to stardom by his 1988 book “A Brief History of Time,” an unlikely worldwide bestseller.
It won over fans from far beyond the rarefied world of astrophysics and prompted people into asking the mastermind his thoughts on broader topics, answered in his final work.

The 10 questions Hawking tackles are:
-- Is there a God?
-- How did it all begin?
-- What is inside a black hole?
-- Can we predict the future?
-- Is time travel possible?
-- Will we survive on Earth?
-- Is there other intelligent life in the universe?
-- Should we colonize space?
-- Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?
-- How do we shape the future?


In his book, Hawking says humans have no option but to leave Earth, risking being “annihilated” if they do not.
He says computers will overtake humans in intelligence during the next 100 years, but “we will need to ensure that the computers have goals aligned with ours.”
Hawking says the human race had to improve its mental and physical qualities, but a genetically-modified race of superhumans, say with greater memory and disease resistance, would imperil the others.
He says that by the time people realize what is happening with climate change, it may be too late.
Hawking says the simplest explanation is that God does not exist and there is no reliable evidence for an afterlife, though people could live on through their influence and genes.
He says that in the next 50 years, we will come to understand how life began and possibly discover whether life exists elsewhere in the universe.
“He was deeply worried that at a time when the challenges are global, we were becoming increasingly local in our thinking,” Lucy Hawking said.
“It’s a call to unity, to humanity, to bring ourselves back together and really face up to the challenges in front of us.”
In his final academic paper, Hawking shed new light on black holes and the information paradox, with new work calculating the entropy of black holes.
Turned into an animation narrated by Hawking’s artificial voice, it was shown at the book launch.
“It was very emotional. I turned away because I had tears forming,” Lucy Hawking told AFP on hearing her father’s voice again.
“It feels sometimes like he’s still here because we talk about him and hear his voice — and then we have the reminder that he’s left us.”