Released in 2007, Chak De India, directed by Shimit Amin, brought hockey to the mainstream film audience. In hindsight, one can say that this was a risky film. Even though this was a star-driven vehicle with Shah Rukh Khan at the helm, it did not have any of the formulaic tropes that Hindi films are otherwise known for. The ensemble cast was not just a bunch of women who were there to support the lead character, their individuality was well sketched out in the film. Many of these actors are still known by their screen names from Chak De India and that’s a testament to the film’s treatment of its characters.
The film did not have the compulsory ‘love story’. On paper, it’s completely alright to have a story that isn’t a love story but somehow that’s not how mainstream Bollywood functions, even till date. The film gave us an insight about its character’s personal lives but we weren’t burdened with an unnecessary love angle. With Shah Rukh Khan, the ‘King of Romance’ playing the lead role, this was a great example of showing restraint.
Chak De India evoked a sense of patriotism without tapping into any kind of jingoism, which in today’s age is quite rare. Even though we know that the team wanted to win for the country’s honour, each character had their motive for winning too.
Akshay Kumar starrer Gold is all set to release on this Independence Day and while the actor has clearly stated that these two films are completely different, comparisons will be made.