Friday, August 10, 2007

Chak De! India opens to packed houses

Chak De! India - first Indian film based on country's women's hockey team - released to a tremendous response across the country today.

The film, which stars Shahrukh Khan, revolves around the story of a women hockey team that goes onto win a World Cup.

The film received a warm welcome from cricket crazy Indian audience for its subject and storyline."The film gives a push to women hockey players as it could revive public interest in the dying game, which is also our national games," said a viewer.

Not many films have been made on the subject and after Lagaan - which was made on cricket, its Chak De! India that comes packed with a heavy dose of hockey for the audiences.

Chak De! India is a story of a coach's fight of making his team overcome obstacles and motivate his team members to a historic victory.

"What happens to people who play it and what goes on a regular daily basis when you play it? How much training is done, how much drama happens behind the scene. What kinds of characters play this sport? Who plays it actually, when nobody really wants to play and what kind of women are involved in playing this. I had to gain that kind of knowledge," said Shimit Amin, director of the movie whose earlier directed Ab Tak Chappan received rave reviews.

The character of Kabir Khan, the hockey coach, is believed to be inspired by a real-life former goalie Mir Ranjan Negi, who was charged with allegations of match fixing after India lost to Pakistan in 1982 Asian Games.

Seven years later Negi's honour was restored when he was absolved of the charges. He coached the national women's hockey team to win gold at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.

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