You know a movie is awesome when you are seeing a spoof and you want to see the original. I was seeing the MTV spoof “Cheque de India” and realized that well, the original is pretty awesome.
When you see a movie for the second or third time, you start seeing small things. CDI (sounds cooler and a bit like CID), follows the grand tradition of Yash Raj Films of having Shah Rukh Khan, has pretty women, has then dressed in Chiffon Saris (the pre final party) and has shoot on foreign location (d-uh Australia). But then it misses the lead heroine or shooting in Switzerland or a romantic song. Also the characterization of the Indian cricket player is damn shallow.
Then again, this movie is all about Shah Rukh Khan, he hams to the max (albeit very effectively), sheds more tears than the females, has the most fiery lines (the talk before the finals is pretty inspiring!) and basically remote controls his way to World Cup victory.
The plot is pretty straight forward about the redemption of a fallen hockey star (SRK) who appears after 7 years in the hockey wilderness. He has missed the crucial penalty against Pakistan in the finals and is branded as a traitor (and more so due to his religion). In real life had Chetan Sharma been a Muslim and had been hit for six of last ball. I am pretty sure he would have been late Chetan Sharma (with all due respect, not that I expect he or anyone he knows will read my obscure article)
So Mr. Khan (in real and reel life) decides to coach a group of 16 girls who are still not a team and decides that they will win the world cup (THAT was the big hint what is going to happen in the end, in sports movies, usually the team audience sees practice wins right?). Well after some initial issues, he (with some assistance from roadside Romeos) manages to make a team which plays and goes to Australia.
And they are beaten 7-0 by the Aussies in their first match. Remember we are Indians and we can do miracles at the last moment. So the team slogs their collective asses, and barely scrapes a win with Britain. Then a montage and we are at the quarter finals. Here we are bullied by the Argentineans who don’t know how sharp we are. We learn their tricks in first half and destroy them (and I am pretty sure in Hockey there is reservation for blind people in referee category, they ignore obvious fouls from both teams!)
In semis we meet Koreans who work with man to man marking. In the greatest of coaching traditions, the coach discusses this with the goalie (yes she is the captain but what can she do? Oh yeah she says that also!). Well the coach (who incidentally was the most successful center forward in the country) doesn’t know how to tackle that (wow!) so he needs the senior player (who has rebelled against him and is permanently sitting out) to tackle the damn Korean team. And she does that! She scores with a defender and we reach the finals!
70 minutes and one tie break later, India are the world champions!! Awesome!
Well yeah but what I do remember is that suddenly the coach is being portrayed as the best thing that happened to hockey since Dhyaanchand. This hypocrisy is so true. My grandfather always said that only the rising sun is worshipped.
The film works on many levels, amazing acting by all actors (except maybe that dude who played the cricket star), especially the supporting hockey staff. Also the camera work was awesome, you felt like you were in the match. I guess NOT having stars worked in the favor of the director.
A crucial test for any sports movie is that the audience should feel the thrill in the penultimate moment of victory, even on repetitive viewings. Well it did pass the test for me (only one after Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, in which I still get scared Aamir Khan might lose the race).
In the end of the movie I was shouting “Chak De!” all over again.