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ChakDeIndia2007
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Rating: 3.2/5 (3 votes cast)

Chak De India (2007)

ChakDeIndia2007

Chak De! India (2007) is a 2007 Bollywood sports film about field hockey in India. It is directed by Shimit Amin, produced by Yash Raj Films, and stars Shahrukh Khan as Kabir Khan, the former captain of theIndian hockey team. After a disastrous loss to the Pakistani hockey team, Khan is ostracized from the sport. He and his mother are further forced from their ancestral home by angry neighbors. Seven years later in an attempt to redeem himself, Khan becomes the coach for the Indian women’s hockey team with the goal of turning its sixteen contentious players into a champion team. After leading the women’s team to the Gold, Khan restores his reputation and returns with his mother to their home, welcomed by those who had shunned them years before.

Chak De! India explores religious bigotry, the legacy of partition, ethnic/regional prejudice, and sexism in contemporary India through field hockey. Screenwriter Jaideep Sahni decided to write a fictional screenplay based on the winning of the Gold by the Indian women’s field hockey team at the 2002 Commonwealth Games after reading about it in the newspaper. Thus the characters, while inspired by the real team and coaches, were invented by Sahni. Although some media outlets compared Kabir Khan to real-life hockey player Mir Ranjan Negi, Sahani has stated that he was unaware of Negi’s tribulations while writing the script and that the resemblance with Negi’s life was coincidental.

Earning over Rs 639 million, Chak De! India was the fourth highest grossing movie of 2007 in India and was critically acclaimed. Chak De! India has won numerous awards (including eight for Best Film) and received the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. The suspension of the Indian Hockey Federation in April 2008 emphasized the film’s influence. After a new hockey council was formed, former hockey player, Aslam Sher Khan, stated in an interview, “We have to make a Team India as you have seen in bollywood blockbuster Chak De! India. There are players from several parts of the country. We have to unite them to make a powerful force.”

Plot

The film opens in Delhi, India during the final minutes of the Hockey World Cup. The game is between the Pakistan men’s national field hockey team and the India men’s national field hockey team, with Pakistan leading, 1-0. When Indian team captain and hockey superstar, Kabir Khan (Shahrukh Khan) is fouled, he elects to take the penalty stroke himself. However, his strike flies just above the goal, and India suffers a crushing defeat. Soon after, the media begins to circulate a photograph of him accepting a handshake from the head of the Pakistani team, speculating that Khan (who is a Muslim) might have “thrown” the game as an act of sympathy towards Pakistan. The religious prejudice exhibited towards Khan by the entire society at large  forces him and his mother out of their ancestral home and into exile.

Seven years later, Indian sport officials are surprised to learn that Khan wants to coach the Indian woman’s field hockey team, a job no one else wants (an official claims the only long term role for women is to “cook and clean”). Khan thus finds himself in charge of a group of 16 women from all sections of India, who are divided by their own competitive natures and individual prejudices. One of the youngest players, Komal Chautala (Chitrashi Rawat) (from a village in Haryana) conflicts with Preeti Sabarwal (Sagarika Ghatge) from Chandigarh whom she refers to derisively as “memsaab” while tough girl Balbir Kaur (Tanya Abrol) from the Punjab has an extremely short temper that impacts the team. Balbir also bullies Rani Dispotta (Seema Azmi) and Soimoi Kerketa (Nisha Nair), who are both from remote villages in Jharkhand. Mary Ralte (Kimi Laldawla) from Mizoram and Molly Zimik (Masochon “Chon Chon” Zimik) from Manipur (in North-East India) are both treated as “foreign” by virtually everyone they meet and face repeated sexual harassment. The team’s captain, Vidya Sharma (Vidya Malvade), is forced to choose between hockey and the wishes of her husband’s family, while Preeti’s boyfriend, the (fictional) vice captain of the India national cricket team Abimanyu Singh (Vivan Bhatena), is deeply threatened by her involvement with the team.

Khan realizes that he can only turn the girls into a winning team if he can help them to overcome these divisions and learn to cooperate with and help each other. Thus during the first few days, he benches a number of players who refuse to conform to his rules, including the most experienced player, Bindia Naik (Shilpa Shukla). In response, she repeatedly attempts to encourage the players to revolt against Khan. Bindia finally succeeds and in anger, Khan resigns. As a sign of good will, however, he invites the staff and team to a going away lunch. The anger that the team felt towards Khan and each other evaporates, however, when some local boys make a pass at Mary and Molly. In response Balbir attacks them, an act which leads to a brawl between the boys and the entire team. Khan, recognizing that this is their first instance of working together as a team, repeatedly prevents the staff from intervening. His only action is to stop a man from striking one of the women with a cricket bat from behind, telling him that there are no cowards (with a double entendre meaning of the Hindi word for coward) in hockey. After the fight, the women (now bonded as a team) beg Khan to remain as their coach.

This newly found unity serves them through a series of additional challenges. When hockey officials suddenly decide not to send the women’s team to Australia for The World Championship, the girls unite in a challenge match against the men’s team. Despite losing this match, their superb performance on the field forces the officials to change their mind and send the team to The World Championship. Once in Australia, the team faces a number of difficult matches with teams such as the Hockeyroos (Australia), the Black Sticks Women (New Zealand), the Las Leonas (Argentina), and the South Korean team (known for its use of the man-to-man marking technique). While initially still working to overcome their differences throughout the matches, the girls learn to act as a single unit. This move eventually leads them to victory and the restoration of Khan’s good name. In doing so, they not only destroy the prejudices which once separated them, but prove to their families and country the merit of women’s athletics. At the end, Khan returns with his mother to their ancestral home, welcomed by those who had shunned them years before.

Cast

Shahrukh Khan as Kabir Khan
Vidya Malvade as Vidya Sharma
Nakul Vaid as Rakesh
Sagarika Ghatge as Preeti Sabarwal
Chitrashi Rawat as Komal Chautala
Shilpa Shukla as Bindia Naik
Tanya Abrol as Balbir Kaur
Anaitha Nair as Aliya Bose
Shubhi Mehta as Gunjan Lakhani
Nisha Nair as Soimoi Kerketa
Sandia Furtado as Nethra Reddy
Arya Menon as Gul Iqbal
Masochon V. Zimik as Molly Zimik
Kimi Laldawla as Mary Ralte

Sound Tracks

“Bad Bad Girls”
Written by Jaideep Sahni
Composed by Salim Merchant, Sulaiman Merchant
Performed by Anushka Manchanda
Music Label Yash Raj Music

“Badal Pe Paon Hai”
Written by Jaideep Sahni
Composed by Salim Merchant, Sulaiman Merchant
Performed by Hema Sardesai
Music Label Yash Raj Music

“Chak De India”
Written by Jaideep Sahni
Composed by Salim Merchant, Sulaiman Merchant
Performed by Sukhwinder Singh, Salim Merchant, Marianne D’Cruz
Music Label Yash Raj Music

“Ek Hockey Doongi Rakh Ke”
Written by Jaideep Sahni
Composed by Salim Merchant, Sulaiman Merchant
Performed by Shahrukh Khan, Kay Kay
Music Label Yash Raj Music

“Hockey Remix”
Written by Jaideep Sahni
Composed by Salim Merchant, Sulaiman Merchant
Performed by Midival Punditz
Music Label Yash Raj Music

“Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaan”
Written by Jaideep Sahni
Composed by Salim Merchant, Sulaiman Merchant
Performed by Krishna, Salim Merchant
Music Label Yash Raj Music

“Sattar Minute”
Written by Jaideep Sahni
Composed by Salim Merchant, Sulaiman Merchant
Performed by Shahrukh Khan
Music Label Yash Raj Music

Reviewed by ChathuRangA on 27 January 2011

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