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Invigorating Indian Sports Film: “Chak De! India”

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“Chak De! India,” which means “Let’s Go! India” in the Hindi language, is a 2007 film featuring Kabir Khan, who used to be the captain and one of the best players of the Indian national field hockey team. During a Hockey World Cup match against Pakistan, Team India is one point behind until the very last minute, when Kabir is fouled. After the game, one of the Pakistani players comes to shake hands with Kabir. Reporters photograph them, some of whom then mislead the public to suspect that Kabir, a Muslim, threw the match deliberately. Unjustly labelled a traitor, not only is Kabir forced to leave the team, but he and his mother can no longer stay in their own home.

Seven years later, Mr. Tripathi, the head of Indian Hockey Association, is having a difficult time finding a coach for India’s women’s hockey team. We then meet Uttam Singh, a former teammate of Kabir, who is certain of Kabir’s innocence. Uttam is happy to see his friend back on the field, but he is also worried, since it is anything but easy to coach the women’s team. Still, Kabir is determined and sets the seemingly impossible goal for India’s women’s hockey team to be the next champion of the Women’s Hockey World Cup!

The team is made up of 16 girls from different states and different cultural backgrounds, who may not even understand each other’s language. There seems to be no time for peace, as they are constantly at odds with one another. The assistant coach, Krishnaji, doesn’t think anyone can get these girls to play hockey together, but Kabir has his own plans...

Kabir’s belief in team spirit is shown to be more important than physical strength. With united spirits and iron determination, can the girls fulfill their shared goal of competing in the World Cup? Will Kabir’s dream of getting a gold medal for his country finally come true?

“Chak De! India” is both entertaining and inspiring. It shows how ego hurts not only the individual, but also those around us. Yet when united with strong will, courage, and determination, we can achieve great things.
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