Chak De India review
Writer: Jaideep Sahni
Producers: Yash Raj
After a hard-hitting Ab Tak Chappan, Shimit Amin comes up with another winner in the form of Chak De India!, an endearing film that is quite a welcome departure from other Yash Raj ventures.
The film’s initial reels, showing Kabir Khan’s (Shah Rukh Khan) exit from hockey and the disgrace he suffers and his return, have been wonderfully shot by director Shimit Amin. The sombre beginning is followed by a delightful sequence, introducing all the key players of the hockey team. Not only does writer Jaideep Sahni make some piquant observations about our attitude towards women taking up sports, it is also a sharp comment on how insular–thinking we can be. As understood, this is a team, with no hopes riding on it and is backed(?) by a Hockey Association, with smug, chai-biscuit munching, chauvinistic officials (one of superbly played by Anjan Srivastav), who don’t see how our desi girls, can playa game of ‘nikkar-baniyan’. Since there’s nothing to be lost really, the association agrees to let Kabir Khan take over as coach. Deeply scarred, Khan is a dashing, sensitive, no-nonsense guy, who comes with a single-minded agenda – to help this struggling shekchillis, as Srivastav calls them) team to win the ensuing World cup and thereby redeem his reputation.
But the new coach and the girls don’t quite hit it off. Khan is a bit too severe on them and takes it upon himself to straighten anyone who won’t fall in line. There’s a particularly good line here where SRK issues a warning to the rebellious types with much panache, ‘Iss team mein sirf ek goonda hai, aur woh goonda mein hoon!’ Just when this crisis is solved, others crop up. From playing with a Men’s hockey team for winning World cup sponsorship to dealing with a difficult senior player (this angle was too stretched I felt) to competing with world champions, there’s a lot to be overcome here.
The film’s final result, though obviously not a surprise, manages to keep up the suspence all along. It’s highly engaging. Jaideep, as we know, is proficient with his understanding of small-town characters and situations and here, his brand of rustic humour and dialogues is succinct.
There is no love story here but I felt the makers could have made the film more interesting by adding a certain romantic element. How come none of the females have a crush on such a suave coach?
The songs fit in beautifully. I especially loved Maula Mere and the title track.
The film is a great personal triumph for SRK. No one has denied his clout at the box-office but for a while now, he hasn’t had a solid, critically acclaimed film. But all that is about to change. The actor delivers a superlative performance looks like a million bucks too. Also there are some real gem-like performances from the girls, some highly enjoyable ones.
In the end, Chak De India is a film that will be loved and remembered for a long time to come.