Pin It
A hybrid of the underdog sports movie and the ecumenical patriotic rabble-rouser

Chak De India (Let's Go India) 

click to enlarge 8.15-film-spot.jpg

Shah Rukh Khan, the de facto King of Bollywood, stars in Chak De India, a hybrid of the underdog sports movie and the ecumenical patriotic rabble-rouser, released just in time for Indian (and Pakistani) Independence Day on Aug. 15.

The film's politics are affirming, and complicated. Shah Rukh is Muslim, the biggest movie star in a predominantly Hindu nation. He plays Kabir Khan, a Muslim on the Indian national field hockey team, accused of ceding victory to Pakistan in the World Cup game. Labeled a traitor, he seeks to restore his izzat (honor) by training a raggedy group of female athletes for the Women's World Cup.

Chak De India also promotes a "sisterhood is powerful" message, with its motley group of girls who represent states and languages across the subcontinent. They all battle against traditional family pressures—to cook and clean and marry-instead of running around immodestly in shorts and miniskirts (all custom-made for the film, since it's difficult to buy sports uniforms for women in India).

A combo of A League of Their Own, Bend It Like Beckham and India's definitive sports movie (about cricket and colonialism) Lagaan, Chak De India seems geared to Western expectations with its lack of songs, except for the usual training montage underscoring. There's oodles of field hockey on screen, subjectively photographed in the middle of play. Shah Rukh doesn't dance or romance, and his limpid eyes fill with tears for his team's fate, not the tragedies of the heart. (Thankfully, this film isn't about fancying the coach.) His emotions propel the story, as expected, but he's aided by his unactressy players, especially pint sized Chitrashi Rawat, hulking Tanya Abrol and Segarika Ghatge, who proves her mettle to her dismissive boyfriend.

Feminism, religious and political unity, a dash of humor and a plucky team: It's hard to be curmudgeonly about Chak De India.

  • A hybrid of the underdog sports movie and the ecumenical patriotic rabble-rouser

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Spotlight

  • Paul Newman, 1925-2008

    A hero we could believe in
    • Oct 3, 2008
  • Remembering director Sydney Pollack, and his visit to Durham

    Pollack's death Monday, May 26, at age 73 represents the passing of a true film raconteur and accomplished director.
    • May 27, 2008
  • Om Shanti Om

    Om Shanti Om delivers the glitter and glamour, the comedy and thrills, religion and the supernatural, mother love, high fashion and eye-popping  production numbers in proper masala fashion.
    • Nov 14, 2007
  • More »

More by Laura Boyes

Facebook Activity

Twitter Activity

Comments

I find this rather interesting ..My name is Gary E.Queen .I am a grand son of Thomas H. Queen,Descendant ,Of …

by Gary E. Queen on The Queen Family (Spotlight)

"He was the picture of a man comfortable in his own skin and celebrity." I never met Pollack, but I …

by rwcass on Remembering director Sydney Pollack, and his visit to Durham (Spotlight)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2014 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation