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I was pleasantly surprised this weekend when I watched Chak De India, starring Shah Rukh Khan (Director: Shimit Amin; Producer: Aditya Chopra).  Not being a big sports buff myself, I was a little reluctant to see a movie about a bunch of misfit women trying to play hockey. 

The story revolves around defamed ex-hockey player Kabir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) and his monumental attempt to redeem himself in front of his country.  After being away from the public eye for 7 years, Khan returns to coach the Indian Women’s Hockey team with a dream of taking them to the Hockey World Cup in Australia and winning a gold medal for India.  Along the way, he encounters opposition from the Hockey Association  members who strongly believe that Indian women are not “cut out” to be athletes and that the team is there more for show than purpose.  The 16 member team, comprised of the best women hockey players from different states in India, also prove to be “difficult” as they battle him and amongst themselves.

Whether it was that I did not have high expectations or that this was truly an inspirational film, I have to give credit to King Khan.  His acting was a welcome change from his “over-acting” days and this comes from a self-proclaimed SRK big fan.  The casting for the misfit women team was also superb and each member was given an identity.  With so many Hindi films focused on beautiful people, unbelievable story lines and romance, romance, romance, Chak De India (roughly translated to “Go, India!”) was definitely a refreshing break from the mundane. 

Not many films get audience participation and I was amazed to see so many people cheering and shouting.  It is a definite must-see for adults and children, alike.

Watch the theatrical trailer…

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