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Chak De India August 13, 2007

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.

Now this film isn’t a path breaking one as such but it is an entertaining one that is well presented and has a lot going for it. There are many sports-based films made in Hollywood but the theme hasn’t been very common in Indian films. Over the years, there has been the stray Awwal Number but more recently Lagaan and Iqbal have made the theme popular. However, unlike those films, this film focuses even more on the sport with most of the drama being around the game and a team of players.

For a cricket crazy country, the film aims to promote the national sport, hockey. Kabir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) is the ex-captain of the Indian hockey team who loses an important final against Pakistan. The Media insinuates that he is involved in match fixing and that brings about the end of his career. The disgraced player resurfaces seven years later interviewing for a position as the coach of the Indian women’s hockey team. Women’s hockey isn’t taken seriously by the administrators who want to focus on the men’s game that has brought laurels in the past. However, Kabir believes that he can build a team from these sixteen girls who have come from all over India. How he builds the team successfully and how they perform at the World Cup forms the rest of the film.

Though Shah Rukh is the only star in the film, he doesn’t hog the screen time and that is a good thing for the film. This isn’t really the role for a superb acting performance like the one he delivered in Swades but it is one that is miles apart from his usual roles and he is first-rate. Casting newcomers for most of the hockey players is quite a good decision and was probably necessitated anyway due to the need for people who were willing to spend time to learn the sport. The casting is good and the girls do a neat job. Vidya Malvade (playing Vidya Sharma), the only recognizable face of the lot, underplays it well. Shilpa Shukla gets probably the most important role among the girls as the egoistic senior Bindia Naik and she suits her role. The other notable members of the team include Sagarika Ghatge (as Preeti Sabharwal), Chitrashi Rawat (as Komal Chautala) and Tanya Abrol (as Balbir Kaur). Vibha, who plays the assistant coach also does well.

The writing by Jaideep Sahni (Company, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Bunty Aur Babli) is the strongest aspect of the film. The screenplay deals with some issues specific to Indian Sport including regional differences as well as issues common with sports in general. Specific focus is on the women’s game and the women being treated badly. Though it also touches on politics and administrators, this aspect is not explored in detail. There are some very well written scenes dealing with the building of the team and the problems between the players helping one realize that there is so much more to playing a sport than what we see on our television screens.

Director Shimit Amin (Ab Tak Chappan) presents the film well. A large part of the film is on the hockey field and Amin does a very good job of capturing the game as also the excitement. However, he overdoes it while stacking the odds against the team just enough every time so that they come out with a miraculous escape. The score and the soundtrack (used only in the background) by Salim-Suleiman are louder than is common for a sports film but they suit the film well because the Indian audience isn’t used to watching films with a lot of scenes devoid of dialogue. Though the film does away with a lot of the conventional aspect of commercial Hindi cinema, Amin tries to accentuate a few elements that would increase the appeal for a larger audience and this isn’t always good for the film. Also the film seems to have been edited for length as some of the character arcs don’t seem complete (probably done with the prospects at the box office in mind).

Despite a few flaws, this film holds your interest and provides an enjoyable movie watching experience. Watch it if you aren’t looking for an entertaining film that is different from the average Hindi film.


1. MeAstro - August 25, 2007

Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!



Peace & Light

2. Shujath - October 18, 2007

Well, I just happened to watch this yesterday and though I liked it; this isn’t groundbreaking stuff as it was made out to be. There is an irritating tendency out here where any film which manages to stand out a little from the general crap is made a part of B-school curriculums or the Oscar library.

Coming to the film, more than his performance credit to be given to Shahrukh for not trying to fit in every frame. The rest of the cast too is highly effective.

On the whole this is a fine sports film especially given the fact that this genre is practically non-existent in Bollywood.

3. Chak De India - October 21, 2007

Chak de India is a very good movie. I watched it for 5 times! Bollywood should come with such a bold and new subjects. People will definately accept such a good films.

4. Rachana - December 13, 2007


5. Gosay - January 14, 2008

A good movie indeed.

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