Of the many disappointments in Chak De India, the most disappointing is Shah Rukh Khan’s passionless performance.
Let’s look at two crucial scenes in Chak De India: the first comes early in the movie when Shah Rukh Khan says he’s resigning as coach of the Indian women’s hockey team following opposition from the players to his style of training.
Coming towards the end of the movie, the second critical scene involves Shah Rukh Khan’s confrontation with two egoistic players Komal Chautala (the pint-sized Chitrashi Rawat) and Preeti Sabarhwal (pretty face Sagarika Ghatge) on the eve of World Cup Final between India and Australia.
In what should have been the crowning moments of the movie, Shah Rukh Khan a.k.a. King Khan in India utterly fails to rise to the occasion, delivering flat performances that rank amateurs would be embarrassed of rendering on screen. Ironically, in the second critical scene the two girls do a better job than the more-experienced Shah Rukh Khan.
Where’s the passion, Shah Rukh?
After 50+ films and 15 years in movies, if such listless, uninspiring performances are all that Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is capable of, it’s a mighty poor reflection of his acting skills and a sad commentary on the Indian film industry.
In Chak De India, Shah Rukh Khan plays Kabir Khan, the coach of a ragtag women’s hockey team that he whips up into shape.
A former captain of the men’s Hockey team, Kabir Khan is also looking to reedem himself in the eyes of his countrymen who dubbed him a traitor for losing to Pakistan.
As for the 16 hockey players in Chak De India, the girls are a mixed bag. Some of them like the the diminutive Chitrashi Rawat, the well-built Tanya Abrol (cast as the short-tempered Balbir Kaur) and Vidya Malvade (who plays the captain/goalie Vidya Sharma) leave an impression. The others are forgettable.
Great sports movies are a lot about excellent photography. But Chak De India’s photography never rises to great heights. Long shots or close-ups, much of the photography of the Hockey matches or the practice is hopelessly mediocre.
Then there is the treatment of the Hockey game itself in the movie. Given the lackluster screenplay, dull dialogs and second-rate photography, it’s hard to believe Chak De India will give a fillip to Hockey in India, where Cricket arouses all the passions.
The folks at Yash Raj Films deserve kudos for picking an unconventional theme – at least by Bollywood standards where filmmakers usually take the easy way out by focusing on love or stealing Hollywood plots.
But Yash Raj and director Shimit Amin also deserve flak for failing to execute well on an interesting theme.
Chak De India’s music isÂ mostly pedestrian and nothing to write home about.
This season when Hollywood is offering such fine movies like the action thriller Bourne Ultimatum, why would you want to waste time and money on mediocre films like Chak De India?
All in all, Chak De India is a poor excuse for entertainment.