September 4, 2007

Chak De India

Title: Chak De India
Year: 2007

Fine Babaganoush- I agree with you :) Chak De isn't bad at all. And here we go:

Kabir (Sharukh) is the Indian Hockey team captain, and screws up the winning shot at an international event against Pakistan. Overnight, he is labelled a traitor etc. and banished from the game. His peers and neighbors reject him to the extent that he leaves town and vanishes into anonymity.

Fast-forward 7 years+: The Indian National Women's Hockey team is seeking a coach for the upcoming international games, and the Hockey Association isn't taking it seriously at all. Kabir manages to get a foot in as the only interviewee for the job, and despite some ridicule, becomes the coach. (Why does he want to coach the women's team? who knows? he does give a half-baked answer which leaves us to surmise that the team's near-anonymity equates to his own etc.).

This is when it gets better- we are introduced to the team, which consists of strong young women from all parts of the country. Points to note:
1- Preeti Sabharwal is the player from Chandigarh, and she looks and acts the part to perfection. 2- The Punjabi girl is cute- a bit of a caricature to be honest. I do not think its a very good representation, but serves only to add humor.
3- The Haryanvi girl, Komal, is again adorable- but she is like no Haryanvi girl I've ever come across! I happen to have married into a extensive Haryanvi family where everyone meets each other and whole villages/towns meet up at weddings. I have never seen, in all those gatherings, as petite and soft-featured a girl as her- she just looks sadly miscast. On the plus side, the actor playing it is very very good and has the lingo down pat.

The individual and united struggles of the women are beautifully translated to cinematic perfection. So do they conquer all odds and win? Of course, but it is the journey which keeps you engrossed from beginning to end.

1- The litany of profane language from Komal, spoken with adorable candor. You go girl!
2- The obvious sincerity oh every actor- every single person pitches in their best, and it shows.

1- Sharukh is unable to contain the melodrama even in this movie; at the end, when his team wins, he again wrinkles up his forehead and his eyes are full of unshed tears- ughhhh! My husband insists that its those very tears that make every Indian woman's heart skip a beat. Dunno man- doesn't work for me, never has and truly drives me up the wall.
2- Despite my reservations about his acting, I am convinced that the movie would have never been the success it is without Sharukh. The other side of the coin remains that even today, we need a man to successfully launch a women-oriented movie.

Quibbles aside, it is honestly quite good; watch it if you haven't.


babaganoush said...

I have been following the fate of this movie in India and i believe that contrary to lot of self styled trade Gurus, it has actually done well beyond the multiplexes..

I guess the complete lack of sports theme movies and an overdose of Himmesh Bhai's nasal rendition of romantic numbers filmed on the desperate looking lover boy Emran Hashmi... have made this movie meet success on the BO..

For a lot of us who have played hockey in school days, it was in many ways happy watching..

a bit of trivia.. the babe who acted as the Haryanvai babe is a real life national level hockey player!! surely she is wrongly casted as she looks her Pahari self and surely not a Jat lass..

looking forward to your review of Eklavya... i still cant decipher the movie... or i mean the scrrenplay..

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Very good point- I wholeheartedly agree with u on Chak De being the antithesis of current cinematic offerings, which fact has indeed given it some push.

and yes, I too looked up Komal's real life persona, and found out her background of being a hockey player from Dehradun- cant understand y she couldnt have been simply portrayed as a Uttaranchal girl that she is. not that it matters honestly:)