By Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM
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
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
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
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
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.
Bollywood.com Rating: 3.5
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