Planet Bollywood
Chak De India
Producer: Aditya Chopra
Director: Shimit Amin
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Vidya Malvade, Amanda Wilkinson, Sagarita Ghatge, Sarah O’Conner, Anaitha Nair, Shilpa Shukla, Arya Menon, Shubhi Mehta, Nisha Nair, Sandia Furtado, Kim Snowden, Lalhmingkimi Khiangte, Tanya Abrol, Chitrashi Rawat, Rania Mascarhanas, Nichola Sequeira and Kimberly Miranda
Music: Salim-Sulaiman
Lyrics: Jaideep Sahni
Genre: Drama
Recommended Audience: General
Approximate Running Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
Film Released on: 10 August 2007
Reviewed by: Shruti Bhasin  - Rating: 8.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.12 / 10 (rated by 411 viewers)
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Opinion Poll: Has "Chak De India" Delivered?

It certainly has not been Yash Raj Films ruling the cinemas in 2007. Unlike the last few years, the production house churned out very mediocre films this year. Can the power of Shah Rukh Khan bring success to Chak De India? The answer is yes and no, because the topic of this movie may not be as popular as him.

The movie is about getting back passion for a particular game and winning for your country; it’s about believing in yourselves when others give up. Of course, there could be comparisons to sports-oriented films such as Lagaan, Iqbal, or even Bend It Like Beckham, however, it’s wrong to do so because by the end of the movie, you see it’s original in its own way.

Chak De India revolves around an ex-Indian Hockey Captain, named Kabir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), who mentors a field hockey team of young and feisty girls who lack team spirit. Their determination, ambition and skills are put to test in an ultimate contest with the world's top teams. For the girls, it is a chance to make their nation proud. For their coach, it is a chance to reclaim his lost honor after being deemed a traitor seven years ago.

The movie has the right intentions from the get-go. Kabir Khan is obsessed with getting these arrogant girls to the World Cup and have them understand the importance of not just being women (who are meant to get married to cook and clean) but to have their own identities and stand the same as men, especially in sports. In a nation that is crazy over cricket, the team encounters groups of people who do not believe the importance of their efforts or the game.

You will have to watch this movie to see how far Kabir Khan and the girls make it. Moreover, forget all thoughts of a predictable ending because the movie has its moments of nail-biting suspense and the finale will have you at the edge of your seat.

Technically, the film is visually captivating, especially the cinematography in Australia. Jaideep Saini has created an interesting story, however his screenplay could have been tighter (especially for the over-the-top reasoning of Kabir being a traitor). To his credit, he wrote many interesting sequences such as the introduction of all the girls, the McDonald’s scene, and the Men vs. Women’s game. Salim-Sulaiman’s music is adequate as a backdrop for the film but nothing to write home about. The editing is not up to par to other Yash Raj Films, especially during the sports action scenes.

Something to consider is that Shimit Amin has chosen a subject that might not appeal to many movie-goers, however, he has the right intentions and has a good vision. As a director, he extracts the right emotions from all key characters.

It’s difficult to think of anyone else who could’ve played Kabir other than King Khan. In a film with no big stars, he doesn’t overdo his role and shows the right amount of stubborness, pride, and heart in the role of a hockey coach. In the first half, some of the girls seemed wooden, however I took back these words when the real drama unfolded in the second half and the characters get down to business.

Vidya Malavade as the goalie shines. The loudness of Tanya Abrol (Balbir) adds humor. The competitiveness between Sagarika Ghatge (Preeti) and Chitrashi Rawat (Komal) is interesting. Finally, Shilpa Shukla (as Bindia) stands out as the most arrogant player and does not fall flat, especially with her scenes with Shah Rukh Khan.

Overall, this is a well-made film that deserves a chance to succeed. Never judge a book by its cover, you might just very well be surprised by Chak De India.

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