Movie update: Chak De India
Among the most awaited September releases is Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag (earlier titled Ram Gopal Varma ke Sholay), featuring Amitabh Bachchan as the legendary dacoit Gabbar Singh and Sushmita Sen as Durga, the role played by Jaya Bachchan in the original Sholay.
Other scheduled September releases are Ram Gopal Varma's Darling, starring Fardeen Khan, Esha Deol and Isha Kopikkar, and Indra Kumar's laugh riot Dhamaal with an all-male cast of Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi and Riteish Deshmukh.
Satish Kaushik is all set to remake Subhash Ghai's superhit Karz with Himesh Reshammiya in the lead. Search is on for an actress to step into Simi Garewal's shoes. The remake will be shot in Europe.
After Kamal Haasan's Thevar Magan, remade in Hindi as Virasat with Anil Kapoor as the hero, shooting has begun for what will be the biggest Bollywood remake of a Tamil hit film --- Gajini, with none other than Aamir Khan in the lead role.
Anurag Kashyap says he is all set to embark on project Devdas with Abhay Deol in the lead. The director says that his film will be called Dev.D and it will be a completely modern day take on the previous versions.
Chak De! India
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Vidya Malvade
Director: Shimit Amin
Music Director: Salim-Sulaiman
It couldn't get better than this. An off-beat sports-based film with none other than superstar Shah Rukh Khan at the helm. You could say this is the actor's best performance till date -- restrained, minus all hamming and straight from the heart --- his stubble lending him a maturity that has rarely been seen, except may be in Swades. What's more, Chak De is a moving ode to patriotism sans all the preachiness associated with the sentiment.
Shah Rukh plays Kabir Khan, an Indian hockey player, whose one mistake of missing out on a vital penalty shot in a final World Cup match against Pakistan costs him his career and his honor. Accused of being a traitor, he goes into oblivion.
Seven years later, he gets a chance to prove all his detractors wrong. His task is to coach the women's hockey team, and his dream --- to make it win the World Cup. A seemingly impossible feat as it is hardly a team. Rather, it's a fractious, squabbling bunch of girls drawn from the various states of India, which makes the job of the coach a Herculean one.
A great plus point of the movie, besides SRK's fantastic act of course, are the terrific performances by the faceless girls, without which the film would never have looked real. Vidya Malvade is the only known face here, thanks to her modeling background and her debut film Inteha. The editing and cinematography are also excellent.
Chak De is a must-see not only because it is well made, but also because it is a telling commentary on the state of sport in India.
And now, for the anticlimax?the only thing that spoils the experience of this film is the knowledge that Bollywood has, yet again, shown its bankruptcy of original ideas. Copied from the 2004 Kurt Russell film, Miracle, Chak De! India mimics Miracle right down to the details of a team divided over national regions, and a coach who was once shunned by the game. It's a shame that a film that is brilliant and entertaining, is also yet another reminder of the crass copycat that Bollywood often is.
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