As Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Chak De! India’ completes 13 years this year, its writer Jaideep Sahni re-visited the classic and said that he was keen to make a Bollywood film that represented women athletes in the right spirit.
‘Chak De! India’ saw Khan play a tainted hockey coach on call to train a bunch of disillusioned hockey players for a global sports event.
“I had wanted to tell this story for a few years. So, when Adi asked me after ‘Bunty Aur Babli’ what I wanted to do next, I told him that I wanted to do this film which could somehow form a bridge between the world of women athletes and the rest of the country. As I told him more about what I’d seen and felt, he agreed that it was a shame that not enough people knew about this world, and also that it could make a really great film if we got things right,” said Sahni in a statement.
Sahni remembers how they were given the creative freedom to make 'Chak De! India', directed by Shimit Amin, a compelling feature.
“Shimit and I have been friends since the time I was writing Company and he was editing Bhoot at Ram Gopal Varma’s office but it was Adi’s [producer Aditya Chopra] conviction after seeing ‘Ab Tak Chhappan’ that he must be the director for this film. Adi’s and Shimit’s faith in the film as producer and director at that early stage was very reassuring for me since I knew my writing was going into the hands of people I trusted and respected,” said Sahni.
This film remains Khan’s career-altering film which showed flex his acting muscles. Shorn off his usual histrionics, Khan excelled in his role as a fierce hockey coach.
“Sometimes people call ‘Chak De!’ ahead of its times but I don’t know how to judge that. It’s just that as audience we get too busy in our daily lives and forget how happy something new can make us if we give it a chance, and as storytellers, we are always under pressure to be entertaining which can impose an artificial ceiling on our choice of subjects. But subjects are always bigger than the storytellers, and if we respect them, they gently show us the way,” said Sahni.