Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Chak De India (2007)



'Chak De India' was the next SRK movie I saw after 'Om Shanti Om' and in both of them I was immediately struck by something - wow, this guy can actually act if he lets himself do so. Don't get me wrong - I am not a SRK hater and in fact seek out his movies because his popularity gets quality films green lit (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Mohabattein, Veer Zaara, etc). It's just that as his popularity grew he just coasted by in every movie playing his alter-ego Rahul and never really strayed far from the character that brought him so much fame & fortune. But the great ones eventually do so if they want to be remembered more than a one-trick pony. Like Dilip Kumar in 'Amar' & Amitabh Bachchan in 'Sholay' - they need to do more than just play themselves, save the day and end up with the girl at the end. SRK seems to have done this very thing with 'Chak De India' - an homage to the Hollywood movie 'A League of Their Own'.



SRK chooses to play the character quite differently than his counterpart Tom Hanks did. He plays a Muslim in this movie (something he rarely does) that loses a high profile field hockey match that in turn questions his allegiance to his own country. This is not some fake Bollywood made up stuff - it is something I have witnessed in India and was completely taken back by. To be told that you are not a patriot just because you are not Hindu and that you should go 'back to Pakistan' is still a sentiment that rears it's ugly head all too often. But this movie is about much more than that - it's also about girl power in a male-dominated society and how people from different parts of India can come together for a common cause. Sure, it's a sports movie so you know everything is going to work out in the end. But the sheer talent of the actors (SRK included), lack of any silly melodrama/slapstick comedy/love interest and mature exploration of controversial subject matter all combine to make this a top notch film. Keeping with the sports theme the movie had precious few songs but Maula Mere was the clear stand out and is sung by Salim-Sulaiman.

7 comments:

Nida said...

Thanks so much for the add on! Great blog...I love desi music, even though I don't understand it. I lived in Pakistan when I was four years old and for some reason find the music very familiar and comforting...
Wow, I had no idea Chak de India had so much depth to it. I have this movie, just haven't popped it in yet...After reading your post, I can't wait! I agree, SRK can act when he puts his mind to it. Although I love his Rahul roles, it can get tiresome after awhile. But alas, that's where his money is, so I guess he has to do what he has to do.

Sanket Vyas said...

It's only because my parents were such film aficionados that I became the same. It took me some time as a Gujarati speaking person to understand Hindi but did so finally with great difficulty. Those old songs are like mother's milk though, so tender and so comforting as well.

It is the combination of the girls, SRK and lack of a love interest that kept this movie on it's tracks. Here's to our Rahul branching out even more in the years to come!

Trupti said...

This is one of SRK's best movies in my opinion. The girls in this movie were just amazing.

cheers,
trupti

Sanket Vyas said...

I agree Trupti - it was one of his best performances. I like the fact that the film took time to examine each girl's personality and used them to showcase the vastness of India's cultural melting pot. And thank goodness they resisted a love-interest time thing as it would have really taken away from the movie as a whole.

Beth said...

It's just such a fabulous movie. I'm almost afraid to watch it again because I'm afraid I've remembered it wrong, and I don't want my esteem for it to lessen.

memsaab said...

I loved this film as well. I really thought it was more about teamwork (not just in a sports sense) and pulling together than anything else (although female empowerment and redemption had a large place too). I think all the messages in it were so important for today's world though. And so well done too :-) Great review, thanks.

Sanket Vyas said...

Beth - you haven't remembered it wrong but why spend 3 hours watching it again when there are so many other great movies to watch for the 1st time? :)

Memsaab - I agree, it was all about those things and the 'girl power' was more of a subtle (rather than implied) undercurrent. 'A league of their own' was also a great example of both things with Tom Hanks giving a much different performance than SRK as the head coach.