Chak De India

Sometime winning is everything.

As the baseline of the movie says, winning is really everything and this movie is a winner. Written by Jaideep Sahni, produced by Aditya Chopra, directed by Shimit Amin, starring Shahrukh Khan and a bunch of endearing young women, I watched this movie twice before writing this. I watched it twice because I wanted to. The movie is awesome in all means !

The tale of a disgraced player taking on an underdog team to redeem himself and make a point is no new storyline (in Indian cinema it could be) but what holds this movie together is its sense of purpose. The movie is made to tell a tale and that's what it does. Shimit Amin has a talent for tight storytelling which was evident in his Ab Tak Chappan. Jaideep Sahni's writing goes absolutely in sync with Shimit Amin's style, Salim Suleiman's score is memorable and adds soul to an already tight narrative and of course the production values are taken care of by Yash Raj films. Let's not forget this movie does for Hockey, what a Lagaan could not do for Indian cricket (yup...that's' because the cricket team's not doing too great is it, while the hockey team in reaching the top spot once again)
The latest is that this movie is being included in some management school curriculum and I can see why. The movie is a lesson for any kind of team oriented existence be it in sports or even in corporate life. After Lagaan, this is one movie which again instills the feeling of passion, purpose, conviction and teaming in spite of surmounting challenges, opposition, politics and everything else put together. Being in the corporate world myself I couldn't help but relate to the situations in the movie, from the conviction to the politics, the support to the dissent, the oldies in the team resenting change to the newbies being unsure, there's everything you want in this movie. You want a situation you will find it, you want a learning you will get it. Its to teaming and winning what The Godfather is to life, answering every question you can ask.
The movie takes you a on a roller coaster ride, which is impeccably predictable, knowingly understated but fall in love with this piece of cinematic brilliance. You know what's happening, you know what's going to happen but yet you wait with bated breath to watch it unfold.

The girls playing the team of girls are outstanding and Shahrukh Khan is absolutely controlled and a superstar beyond measure for being the star and yet allowing the team to star in this sporty movie. I have always been a fan of Shahrukh Khan the superstar but after this movie, I do believe that he can act, act within the confines of a character.
The girls led by the experienced but authority-resistant Bindiya Naik (Shilpa Shukla), the quite Gunjan, perky Aliyah Bose(Anaitha Nair ),matured Vidya Sharma (Vidya Malavade), strong and hot-tempered Balbir, Mary Ralte, the very cute and endearing Komal Chautala (Chitrashi Rawat), the attractive Preeti Sabharwal (Sagarika Ghagte) and many others who can put some established actresses to shame come together as the Indian Women's hockey team and rule the screen for over 2.5 hours along with their coach Kabir Khan (Shahrukh).

The story commences with India losing a final to Pakistan in the men's world cup due to the captain Kabir Khan missing a penalty and then facing the ire of the media and the public. With allegations of being a Pakistan supporter Kabir Khan leaves his locality and goes into obscurity, for 7 years. A bunch of bureaucratic never-been-on-the-field administrators of the hockey association are sitting over the coach's job for the Indian Women's Hockey team and Kabir Khan takes up the job.

It gets interesting from here on with coach Kabir trying to build a team first, rather than teach hockey. There are unforgettable characters in the team, take the tiny dynamo Komal Chautala for example. From Haryana, this little cutie absolutely holds your attention with her rapid fire dialogue delivery. I can go on and on about the cast because they are brilliant. The team faces many a hurdle right from their practice sessions to getting their chance in the world-championships in Australia but eventually get there. And, what unfolds there is a combination of brilliant photography, tight scriptwriting, some excellent technical support & great production of the hockey scenes. What you get are scenes of absolute natural action, yet nail-biting suspense.

The scenes between the girls when they first register for the training camp, the scene when they first go to their dormitories, the first training session, the hockey match with the men's team and all the championship hockey matches are awesome.

While I do not want to give away the climax, although I did mention it is all predictable, let me just say that having watched this movie twice I still did not lose out on the thrill because the characters and the story overpowers the action. You want to hear those dialogues again, you want to see Kabir Khan's passion again, you want to admire the young expressions again and you will want to watch this movie again and again....

Shimit Amin is definitely a director to watch out for. Shahrukh Khan is King. This gang of girls rule !


swapnil ravindran September 16, 2007 at 4:15 AM  

Couldn't agree more. The Indian movie in the sports genre has arrived!

Alexy Kuriakose September 17, 2007 at 6:03 AM  

Ved, You made me watch this movie...just an incredible piece tight story and gripping theme. Thanks!

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