2.5 Good

I usually see movies for their directors, but this one I saw just to see the treatment given to hockey since sports movies are not made in India often.Chak de India! by no means is formula film but it does follow the rules of a sports based flick with the usual ingredients of dejection,heartbreak,redemption, glory and culmination with an underdog triumph in the finale.

The first half deals with player’s ego clashes, regionalism, seniority issues, but it takes too long a time for Kabir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) to establish a sense of one ness in a bunch of girls from all corners if the country, supposed to be the national women’s team, which incidentally is instigated by an act of eve- teasing and happens too late and too close to the interval. But the casting of the 16 girls is praiseworthy.

Undoubtedly, the second half is better shot; shaking away the inertia and gaining fluidity. Principle components in a movie on sports are sports choreography and live sports commentary. The movie is laudable in the first case but the latter lacks real zing, excitement and the language required to make an impact.

Moreover there are no insights into the tactical and strategic smartness of coach except for the minor reference of man to man marking in the semi final game against South Korea. Instead the team keeps on wining with just its courage and fortitude by solitary goals over better prepared and accomplished opposition .Which incidentally makes me wonder as to how can Preeti (the forward) be the highest goal scorer of the championships?

Yes, there’s a lot of hockey but I believe the matches ought to have been better covered especially the final. The Australian girls should have been given more screen time/play time to show how close the game was. And instead of taking digs at cricket, reels should have been shot involving media reactions and post match conferences during the one month down under when the girls were trying to achieve the improbable.

Shimit Amin has shown versatility after his last movie (Ab Tak Chappan) which I really liked.
As for Shah Rukh, he should look to build on this body of work of his where he moves his audience with what I call undertones of simmering emotion ,rather than make aunties weep in 40 smiles and 4 hankies romances. One of his finer performances as of now. He reminds me of the coach in a lesser known Hollywood movie ‘Miracle ‘ where a bunch of unprofessional American kids beat the world champions USSR to Olympic gold.

Chak de India! Is a well intentioned film and that can be seen, but it is not a break through film for the sports genre. It’s a film that can be a precedent, which forthcoming films should look to better but not emulate.