Chak De India Hindi Movie Review
Sometimes winning is everything- thus goes the tagline of this week's big Bollywood release- the Yashraj films produced and Shimit Amin directed Chak De! India. And yes, after the brilliant and edgy Ab Tak Chhapan, which didn't really do great shakes at the Box Office, Shimit Amin this time shows that he can play the big, bad (BO) game too, no pun intended.
Chak De... abounds in many so-called 'commercial' elements and cliches, yet- miraculously, it works. And you are ready to forgive some 'crimes' that writer Jaideep Sahni and the director commit- not just simply because they are somewhat necessary to make the film work, but also because their intentions, essentially are good.
Chak De! India undoubtedly is a risky project, a hardcore sports film made on a reasonably large budget about women's hockey- and starring just one (very well) known face- Shahrukh Khan. And for making what is probably Bollywood's first unadulterated sports film, and that too about our much ignored national game, the CDI team deserves applause.
The key here is the fine balance the writer and director manage to strike across the many themes, characters and other elements in the film. The themes are many- gender bias, neglect of hockey and of course, patriotism- but they are juggled expertly and effectively. The patriotic and emotional elements are enough to sweep the crowds, but not so overboard that they make you cringe.
There are also some interesting touches that Sahni brings to the film- the troublemaker or the 'goonda' of the team, for example is named Bindiya Nayak! The music by Salim Sulaiman is good and well placed and Sudeep Chatterjee's cinematography is superb and has tons of finesse.
The many characters are stereotypical, but also warmly endearing, as one inevitably begins to root for team India to bring the cup home. And the inexperienced actors do quite well, playing their parts with enthusiastic aplomb.
And of course, then there is King Khan- Kabir Khan in this movie, or 'Tughlaq' as one of the characters sneeringly calls him in the film. This is by no means an extraordinarily remarkable performance- not nearly as awesome as Mohan Bhargav in Swades- but still, SRK does pack in a punch. Gritty, intense and dramatic, he hits all the right buttons in a role he sinks his teeth into without distracting from the rest of the film. And yes, when he flashes that famous dimpled smile, you smile with him. Oh well, that charm always works, doesn't it.
So while Chak De! India may not be as brilliant a film as Amin's last effort, what it is undoubtedly is a winning film.