Chak De! India

2007 · Yash Raj Films
Chak De! India — Movie Review by Karthik
9 out of 10
Directing Credits
Shimit Amin
Writing Credits
Written by Jaideep Sahni
Shah Rukh Khan, Vidya Malvade, Sagarika Ghatge, Shilpa Shukla, Chitrashi Rawat, Anaitha Nair

The Review

Chak De! India opens with an introduction to the main character in the story, Kabir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan).  Khan was the captain of the Indian Hockey Team, and when he misses a crucial goal during the finals of an India-Pakistan match, he is forced to disappear from the scene, being branded as a traitor.

Seven years later, he makes a comeback, not as a player, but as a coach — a coach for the Indian Women's Hockey Team.  His intention is to prepare them to compete in the World Championships — and to make them win it.  This is no easy task, however, because though the girls may be the best hockey players from their respective states, no one believes they have a shot at even competing with other teams around the world (as a senior official on the board remarks, even a European school team could defeat them).  How the coach prepares the team for the match forms the rest of the story.

Chak De! India is director Shimit Amin's second film (the first was Ab Tak Chhappan, which I really liked), and what a film it is!  There are a lot of things one can appreciate about this movie, the first being the excellent acting all around.  Shah Rukh Khan did a great job, and so did all the women playing the members of the team.  Considering that not all of them are professional actors, I thought it was a great thing that the director got convincing performances out of all of them.  It would have been very easy on the part of the director and writer (Jaideep Sahni) to overdo the drama and throw in some clichés, or to overplay the nationalistic element to evoke an emotional response from the audience, but they never did that — everything was depicted in a very realistic manner.  They created dramatic tension out of interplay between the characters, so nothing seemed out of place.  There are some characters that were developed better than others though, still, given the film's running time, anything more would have probably been unnecessary.

This is certainly a very nice looking film (courtesy Director of Photography Sudeep Chatterjee) too.  Ab Tak Chhappan was shot in a very realistic manner, more like a documentary.  Here the director had more of a chance to spice up the proceedings, so there are some nice visuals, and the whole thing was quite tightly edited (Amitabh Shukla).  Of course, when it came to the action (the hockey scenes on the field), it was all energy on screen, but once again, the way everything was put together, they made sure they didn't lose the audience at any point.  The movie had a great soundtrack too — there were some good songs and the music score by Salim-Sulaiman was very good as well.

I believe this is the first sports movie of this type (coach trains an underdog team to win a big game/tournament) I'm watching, so I can't really compare and say whether this was done better or worse than what has come before.  I don't know a thing about hockey either, still, I really enjoyed the movie and would recommend it highly.

More Details

Running Time: 130 minutes | Country: India | Genre: Drama/Sport

Ratings Info

I rate all movies or game add-ons on a scale of 1 to 10 points.  1 is the lowest score, 6 is barely above average, 8 is good, and 10 is excellent (this score doesn't indicate something that is perfect in every way — it just means that I enjoyed it a lot).  You'll find that I tend to give ratings of 8 and above often (that's only because I enjoy whatever I'm reviewing!).  Reviews are updated as felt necessary.  Of course, everything said in these reviews is my humble opinion only.
Review Date 23 Sep 07
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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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