Chakde India: 16 girls, SRK & hockey-shockey

Anything new in Chakde India? Nothing.

Would I still recommend watching it. Yes.

The movie starts with the customary disclaimer that it is a work of fiction and any resemblance to real people or events is purely co-incidental.

Now, if you consider the following as facts…

  • People who run sports bodies in India are boring sarkari-types.
  • Zafar Iqbal was the captain of the Indian hockey team that lost 1-7 to Pakistan in the finals of the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi.
  • Yuvraj Singh was dating Kim Sharma and was the vice-captain of the Indian cricket team.
  • The walls of Mohammed Kaif’s house were blackened with graffiti by vandals after India lost a cricket match.
  • Women married into many middle-class families are expected to be nothing beyond good housewives.
  • Many people from North-East of India do not associate themselves with India.
  • Women from the North-East are subject to lewd remarks in many places in India.
  • Rustic Haryanvi lines in Hindi films (remember the wrestler-goon in Khosla Ka Ghosla) and television (remember Udham Singh on Channel [V] ) are funny.
  • A regular Indian team is composed of players chosen from different states.

… then Shimit Amin (Ab Tak 56) does craft a whole movie out of co-incidences alone!

The fundamental premise here, like in all sports-based films, is that audience sympathy is always with the underdogs and therefore the protagonists have to be the underdogs. Remember Lagaan, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Iqbal and recently, Ta Ra Rum Pum? (I won’t ask you, but if you also remember Awwal Number, All-rounder, Kabhi Ajnabi Thhey, you rock!) And if the underdogs happen to be women with their own respective odds, then you have a completely-on-the-side-of-political-correctness double-whammy lined up! Now top that up with Shah Rukh Khan being their mentor — and you have a triple-treat-sundae ready!

Shah Rukh as a mentor of people is a film-genre in its own right. Whether it was mentoring a gurukul of plastic love-birds in Mohabbatein, or mentoring villagers wanting their own electric turbine in Swades, or as Major Ram studying alongside students who called him uncle in Main Hoon Naa, and of course my favourite SRK-as-mentor scene from DDLJ (which I mentioned here). (Please note: any assumptions about SRK’s acting abilities are your own!)

I deliberately won’t venture into how all and what all does Chakde India not deliver. Because in our land of abundant contradictions I still believe if something can make a small difference, it is a movie dripping with clichés and stereotypes!

If people believe that a Veer Zaara can contribute more to building relations between Indo-Pak aam janta than official actions — then I won’t play party-pooper to the hope that after Chakde India the integrity of the ordinary Indian Muslim won’t be ever questioned again; that people of North-East India would start seeing themselves as citizens of India; that the girl-child in Haryana (which has one of the lowest female:male ratios in India) gets her due; that middle-class families start giving their daughters-in-law some space to fulfill their aspirations; that people from Jharkhand are no longer seen as backward tribals but recognized for what they can contribute to the country; that boy-friends become less patronizing towards their girls; that we rise above our regional-linguistic chauvinism and start thinking of ourselves as Indians first!

Go watch it.

p.s.
On the other hand, the official Yashraj Films.com website (click here at your own peril) is perhaps the epitome of traumatic navigation websites. Every module, every link you click takes 10 times longer to load (with a Flash pre-loader) than the amount of time you finally end up spending on the resultant page! Have you ever been exasperated using phone IVR call-in menus – press 1 for Hindi and press 2 for English. Now press 1 for blah and 2 for blah-blah and 3 for blah-blah-blah. Now press 1 for dang, 2 for dangg, and 3 for danggg? Grrrr. That was child’s play! On this official website I was actually scared of clicking on any link — afraid of the next loading-section countdown screen that would be unleashed on me!

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11 thoughts on “Chakde India: 16 girls, SRK & hockey-shockey

  1. bottom line is: CDI and SRK ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Definitely an award-winning performance and film! SRK: I salute you! You are the BEST EVER!!!!

  2. I dont much like SRK and his overacting, but anyway saw CHI first day last show and loooooooved it. Saw it again on monday! :) All the girl players were terrific. I liked everyone from Komal Chautala to Mollie zimik and to my own surprize, I liked SRK too. I think CDI is one of his good performances; nevermind the few ham sessions like “70 minute” dialogue where I so much thought that he will anytime say “NARAYAN SHANKAR, JAHAN SE MAIN DEKH RAHA HUN, TUM HAAR GAYE HO!!” and “KKKKKKKKOMAL”. Amir would have done complete justice to the role. But all in all, awesome movie! And now I’ll go chk the Yash Raj website and find business, just in case. *I’m in Onlne Media* :D
    Cool post!

  3. Rizwana:
    I can see a gushing SRK fan! But what to do, I see too many of them :)

    Ektaran:
    I see an unabashed SRK hater! And I see too many of them too :)

    Mala:
    I see too many people recommending Chakde to you. You don’t need company to watch it — (in a melodramatic tone) –> saara theatre tumhaare saath hoga :)

    Adi Crazy:
    I see a grudging SRK lover! And I see too many of them too :) [Now that you mentioned Narayan Shankar, Mohabbatein is the worst SRK movie ever -- yeah worse than even Guddu, Ram Jaane and Hum Tumhaare Hain Sanam] All the best for getting bizness out of YRF!

    [From all this "...I see too many of them..." rhetoric, all I can infer is that India has a lot of people :-D]

  4. I’m not the audience and I liked the film for all the wrong reasons! Because Shahrukh Khan for once controlled his ham-acting; because there were no playback songs; you could also ignore the songs as background music; because there were no heroines but no dearth of women / girls; because the dialogues were well-written and a couple of times, they actually used allowed silence to communicate. And I didn’t like it because there were no bare-chested shots of well-built men :(

  5. i m slightly bewildered. after something of like 30 yrs i found myself asking … did i really ever know rahul … coz THIS is not you!
    Criticism is always Great. Whiplashing writing is Impactful … but what i saw was article after article laced with sarcasm, blatant sledging, slander, despise … . . … Thats not you! ( i’d rather have the good ol’ rahul with his sharp whiplashing criticism anyday ! )

  6. Nino, you have me bewildered too…
    Wait: Do you mean I have mellowed down — lost the sharp whiplashing sarcasm..??
    Say it again. I would want to know what exactly you meant there :)

  7. people from north-eastern india always think themselves as Indians. The simplest proof are the deserted roads whenever the indian cricket team takes on someone. The north-easterners only start thinking themselves as outsiders only when they travel to other parts of the country and find that others treat them as outsiders.

    Kudos to Chak De makers. At least some one admitted that candidly for the first time.

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