A lot or a little?
Parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Chak De! India is a feel-good underdog sports movie featuring girl athletes from India overcoming sexism and some racism to compete and excel. There's a little fighting (the girls get the upper hand), some sexual innuendo, and big plugs for McDonald's and Puma. A sprinkling of strong language doesn't go beyond the "s--t" in subtitles. You don't need to know much about field hockey to enjoy this movie, but you do need to be a fast enough reader to keep up with the subtitles.
What's the story?
Seven years after field hockey star Kabir Kahn (Bollywood heartthrob staple Shah Rukh Khan) is deemed a traitor for his big loss against Pakistan he's given another chance to show his true colors. He's asked to coach the India women's national field hockey team. He has three months to mold players from states all around India into a team ready for the world cup in Australia -- and he's got his work cut out for him. The girls are divided by prejudice and haughtiness and lack any kind of camaraderie. And after Kahn works hard to bring the girls together, the team's funding is cut off. The sexist head of the field hockey club is giving the money to the men's team instead. In a last-ditch effort to get the girls to Australia, Coach Kahn has them play against the men's team to decide their fate.
Is it any good?
Girls especially will dig into this decent underdog tale and root for the players facing sexism, family expectations, and other obstacles. It'll remind you of A League of Their Own in many ways. Don't worry if you don't know much about field hockey. It's pretty easy to follow (and the training montages are lengthy enough you can probably put together your own neighborhood team by film's end). Despite the cultural divide, guaranteed you'll be cheering "Chak de India!" (meaning "go for it, India") through the exciting conclusion.
It can be hard to get kids to sit through a more typical Bollywood movie. They're very long, usually subtitled, lean toward the melodramatic, and are full of song and dance numbers in a musical style American kids don't hear on the radio. CHAK DE! INDIA is subtitled and a little long, yes, but there are no dance numbers -- the limited soundtrack is more peppy and modern -- and most of the drama takes place on the field.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about their favorite underdog sports movies and how Chak De! India compares.
What do these Indian girls overcome that other athletes don't have to?
In the beginning of the movie how does the media turn Coach Kabir Kahn from someone who lost a game for his country into someone who turned traitor? Do we experience media spin to the same extent in the U.S.?
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