Chak De India

  • Directors: Shimit Amin
  • Producers: Aditya Chopra, Yash Chopra
  • Writers: Jaideep Sahni
  • Genres: Drama, Family, Sport
  • Actors: Shahrukh Khan, Vidya Malvade, Sagarika Ghatge, Chitrashi Rawat, Shilpa Shukla, Tanya Abrol, Anaitha Nair, Shubhi Mehta, Seema Azmi, Nisha Nair, Arya Menon, Sandia Furtado, Arya Menon, Masochon V Zimik, Kimi Laldawla, Raynia Mascerhanas, Vivan Bhatena

Chak De! India is a film which takes place in contemporary India, examining religious bigotry, the legacy of partition, ethnic/regional prejudice, and sexism through a story about the Indian women’s national field hockey team.[12][13][14]

The film opens in Delhi, India during the final minutes of the Hockey World Cup. The game is between the Pakistan men’s national field hockey team and the India men’s national field hockey team, with Pakistan leading, 1-0. When Indian team captain and hockey superstar, Kabir Khan (Shahrukh Khan) is fouled, he elects to take the penalty stroke himself. However, his strike flies just above the goal, and India suffers a crushing defeat. Soon after, the media begins to circulate a photograph of him accepting a handshake from the head of the Pakistani team, speculating that Khan (who is a Muslim)[14] might have “thrown” the game as an act of sympathy towards Pakistan. The religious prejudice exhibited towards Khan by the entire society at large [14][13] forces him and his mother out of their ancestral home and into exile.

Seven years later, Indian sport officials are surprised to learn that Khan wants to coach the Indian woman’s field hockey team, a job no one else wants (as, an official indicates, the only long term role for women is to “cook and clean”). Khan thus finds himself in charge of a group of 16 women from all sections of India, who are divided by their own competitive natures and individual prejudices. One of the youngest players, Komal Chautala (Chitrashi Rawat) (from a village in Haryana) conflicts with Preeti Sabarwal (Sagarika Ghatge) from Chandigarh whom she refers to somewhat derisively as “memsaab” while tough girl Balbir Kaur (Tanya Abrol) from the Punjab has an extremely short temper that impacts the team. Balbir also bullies Rani Dispotta (Seema Azmi) and Soimoi Kerketa (Nisha Nair), who are both from remote villages in Jharkhand. Mary Ralte (Kimi Laldawla) from Mizoram and Molly Zimik (Masochon “Chon Chon” Zimik) from Manipur (in North-East India) are both treated as “foreign” by virtually everyone they meet and face repeated sexual harassment. The team’s captain, Vidya Sharma (Vidya Malvade), is forced to choose between hockey and the wishes of her husband’s family, while Preeti’s boyfriend, the (fictional) vice captain of the India national cricket team Abimanyu Singh (Vivan Bhatena), is deeply threatened by her involvement with the team.

This newly found unity serves them through a series of additional challenges. When hockey officials suddenly decide not to send the women’s team to Australia for The World Championship, the girls unite in a challenge match against the men’s team. Despite losing this match, their superb performance on the field forces the officials to change their mind and send the team to The World Championship. Once in Australia, the team faces a number of difficult matches with teams such as the Hockeyroos (Australia), the Black Sticks Women (New Zealand), the Las Leonas (Argentina), and the South Korean team (known for its use of the man-to-man marking technique). While initially still working to overcome their differences throughout the matches, the girls learn to act as a single unit. This move eventually leads them to victory and the restoration of Khan’s good name. In doing so, they not only destroy the prejudices which once separated them, but prove to their families and country the merit of women’s athletics. At the end, Khan returns with his mother to their ancestral home, welcomed by those who had shunned them years before.

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