No Spoilers Ahead
I would have watched Chak De India even if the Friday reviewers had torn it apart.
Shahrukh Khan. A dozen women. And no love story. Not even close to it. I mean, if this does not ignite my curiosity maybe nothing else will.
I reached the 11 am show just in time and was lucky enough to get a ticket. I have never had a problem getting the Saturday morning movie show ticket because I have always believed that guys who watch the first show on a Saturday morning and that too alone, have nothing much to do in life. Never mind if I happen to be one of them. But today was different. Seeing the crowd discouraged me but for a gentleman who was kind enough to give me one of his surplus tickets for a discount.
Chak De India is a challenge of sorts for everyone associated with it. It sounds like the filmmakers ultimate gamble but with a twist. I mean, in a film industry where films based on sports are as rare as honest politicians in the country, serving to an audience that has always thought of cricket as the only sport and feasts on it for the most part of the year – a seemingly plain dish of women’s hockey is Gamble with a capital G. Add to it a string of unknown cast (well, for the most part).
The hits just keep on coming, don’t they.
But here’s the twist — it just might pay off.
One might expect Khan to carry the movie on his shoulders and being the saving grace. The good news is that Shahrukh khan is not the only one who pulls this off. Instead, he delivers a controlled, rare blend of acting and on-screen persona that makes this movie a must watch. I loved Khan in Swades and I thought that Ashutosh Gowariker, if I may use the word, “handled” him the best. Shimit Amin, the one who dished out “Ab Tak Chappan”, may have taken a cue from Gowarikar on this. The dialogs, an ingredient that assumes even more importance in a movie dealing with patriotism, are to the point, apt. The camera is excellent. The hockey games are realistic, probably the most realistic any sport on Indian cinema has ever been (I say this keeping in mind “Iqbal“); and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that most ‘players’ in the film were real hockey players.
Besides, this is a shot in the arm for the game in India. Indian hockey needed something like this.
Watch Chak De India for India. Watch it for a game that happens to be our national game. Watch it for a brand of cinema that you have never watched. And if you still need a reason more, watch it for the beautiful girls and the almost impeccable Shahrukh Khan.