Movie Review: Chak De! India

This evening, in my dormitory hall's multipurpose room, a visiting scholar who lives on the same floor as me showed us the movie Chak De! India (and had great Indian food catered from a restaurant as well).

The premise of the movie is basically that the former Indian field hockey captain who was disgraced and branded a traitor after a Hockey World Cup (he shook hands with the Pakistani captain, but due to deep mistrust in each country of the other, Indian media outlets took this to mean that he purposefully threw away the match, which people believed also because he is a Muslim) chooses to coach the women's field hockey team. He and the members of the team have to face sexism, while the team members' own egos and past team loyalties get in the way.

I really liked the movie not just because it touches on so many different issues, like racism, tribalism, extreme nationalism, sexism, misogyny, and egoism, but because it does so without the song-and-dance numbers (in fact, I only heard two songs sung consistently through the movie, aside from the instrumental-only background songs) stereotypical of Bollywood. I used to not like Bollywood movies (and other Indian movies) because of that, but I think Bollywood is getting better. Shocking, isn't it? In any case, I highly recommend this movie, but if you are planning to watch it, please buy the official edition; I say this not because of any legal/moral reasons for buying a legal copy, but because the legal copies have good English subtitles, whereas in all likelihood unofficial copies will have hilariously bad English subtitles.