by Taran Adarsh | Posted Aug 10, 2010
The Yash Raj - SRK combo is back. No lush green fields here. No running around trees either. No chiffon sarees to make the ladies look their best. No melodrama, no parental opposition, no lovers defying their parents. CHAK DE INDIA, directed by Shmit Amin, charters a new territory.
Yash Raj is not really known to venture into unconventional lanes, barring a KABUL EXPRESS in the recent past. CHAK DE INDIA isn't unconventional as such, but it's definitely different and awe inspiring at times. Frankly speaking, CHAK DE INDIA doesn't boast of a path-breaking script, but execution of the subject material succeeds in making you find purpose and meaning and also arouses patriotic sentiments.
There's a flip side as well. Sports-based themes, barring a few, haven't really found many takers in India, especially with the aam junta. For various reasons. Sure, hockey is the national sport of India, but cricket gets more prominence in our dailies and also on news channels. The common man also keeps tabs on the Tendulkars and Dravids, when compared to those belonging to other sports. CHAK DE INDIA is about hockey, about women's hockey to be precise, but most of us haven't given more importance to this thrilling sport for no particular reason.
Also, from the business point of view, CHAK DE INDIA may be an engrossing fare, but not the ideal flick for an entertainment-seeking viewer. At best, it may attract attention initially thanks to the star power and the Numero Uno production house promoting it aggressively. But that's about it!
Kabir Khan [Shah Rukh Khan] knows what it's like to come back from the dead. The ex Indian Captain has now come back in the avatar of the Coach of the Indian Women's National Hockey team. A team that exists more on paper and less in reality.
The team is a bunch of girls with their own agenda. A bunch of girls who have forgotten what it is like to play for the love of the game. Of playing because you want glory for your country. Not because you want a pensioned job or a government flat. They have all forgotten the sharp thrill of just holding the hockey stick, keeping their eyes on the ball and playing for all they are worth. They have played every game but hockey to make sure they get selected every year in the Indian National team. But what does it really mean to play for the Indian National team? To play for India?
The girls have never known the thrilling energy of being Team India. Of giving their all to see their country's name on a trophy. But Kabir Khan, once a captain, now forgotten, does. He knows what it takes to get there. And what it means to return empty handed. This time, he wants to make sure that it's different. He knows there are no second chances. Despite his past, he believes that if only the girls played as one, anything would be possible.
Because Kabir Khan believes that it is not that we can't win. It's just that we have never believed we can.
CHAK DE INDIA is the story of a coach's fight of making his team, Team India by overcoming their diverse backgrounds, by learning to use everything that life hurls on them as a secret weapon.
The film has all the right elements mixed -- satirical comedy, seriousness and dollops of emotions. In fact, the first half is quite captivating and the expectations from the latter half are equally high. The post-interval portions don't disappoint, but the pace slackens and the goings-on take a long time to reach the finale. In fact, the narrative gathers steam only towards the climax, which is well handled.
Shimit Amin's choice of the subject as also the execution deserves to be lauded. But, as mentioned at the outset, it's not a film that would find universal patronage. People giving it a Thumbs Up would be limited to those who are into qualitative cinema.
Cinematography is first-rate. Music is strictly okay. Dialogues are interesting. A few lines are indeed amazing. Editing could've been tighter.
SRK is the soul of CHAK DE INDIA. What you see on screen would be half of what it is without this matchless actor. He makes you feel what you are supposed to feel. A performance that's sure to go down as one of his finest works so far. The girls are excellent and a few of them register a strong impact, especially Vidya Malvade.
On the whole, CHAK DE INDIA is a well-made product, but its fate at the ticket window wouldn't be as glorious as its intentions. With a slow start at places and not too exciting promotion [the promos], the film will face an uphill task in days to come.
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