There’s a monologue by Shahrukh Khan in Chak De! India that’s been hailed as the best dialog in the film. It’s called the ‘Sattar Minute’ monologue. It’s the finals of the Women’s Hockey World Championship. Kabir Khan, the coach in the film, tells his players that these 70 minutes are the most important in their lives. What Jaideep Sahni, the writer of this movie, does in this monologue is restate what we know: that this is the most important match, that the players are united and ready, and that this pep talk has to be the best. What Mr. Sahni also does is heighten the tension before the match, and even though we know the result, that monologue bloatens the tension and makes the stakes higher. That monologue is a piece of a great screenplay that makes Chak De! India, India’s underdog hockey story.
Chak De! starts in the past. Kabir Khan is playing for India in the Men’s Hockey World Championship Finals against Pakistan. After getting fouled, he goes for the penalty shot which skims over the bar. Hurt and disappointed, the crowd targets Khan for being bought by the Pakistan team after shaking the Pakistan captain’s hand and accuses him of purposely missing that crucial shot. Khan is outcast by his country. The movie flash-forwards 7 years later, when Khan goes for an interview for the post as coach of the National Women’s Hockey Team. He gets selected. Next, we meet the team. Mr. Sahni brings women from all over the country for a purpose: to create conflict between them which acts as the key for the team to win which is…if you guys are united, you’ll win. This group of women is as diverse as it is fun to watch. Dialog between them is funny, especially Balbir Kaur, the hot-headed Punjabi to the women from remote villages. Khan’s unorthodox training (benching the players) brings heads rolling and clashing and finally, because of the differences among the players, he resigns. Now, this The team is ready to take on the World Cup, but the Indian dudes refuse because they’re either too lazy or they want the good life they’ve been having or they don’t believe in Indian women. But then the Women play against the Men and they get sent to Australia for the Championships. And you know the end…we win.
Director Shimit Amin reuses the underdog formula but reinvents it with SRK’s performance and a fresh cast. The script obviously debases the usual path the story would’ve have taken and replaces it with quick dialog between the main cast. There is one fight scene that is also really funny, but it is the Point of No Return in the script, or the end of Act 1. The Chak De song is also very uplifting. But, other than this great script, nothing else can be said. Just watch it.