Chak De! India turns ten: Where are the girls now?
Today marks ten years of the 2007 Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Chak De! India, the film that changed the perception of women athletes and Hockey in India. The award-winning movie directed by Shimit Amin still holds a special place in our hearts. However, the film's "heart and soul" are the 'Chak De!' girls. Let's have a look at where the on-screen hockey team is now!
"Vidya Sharma India Captain" is now a Yogini
Vidya Malvade (goalie-captain Vidya Sharma) appears in short films; she is also a Yogini (female yogi) now and conducts workshops in India and abroad. Actress Shilpa Shukla (Bindiya Naik) has worked in many films, including BA Pass, and has gone back to theatre. Sagarika Ghatge (Preeti Sabharwal) acted in a few Hindi and Marathi flicks; she recently got engaged to cricketer Zaheer Khan.
Chitrashi Rawat is one of Malvade's students
Chitrashi Rawat (Komal Chautala in the film) worked in both big and small screen ventures, including Luck, Fashion, and FIR. Tanya Abrol (Balbir Kaur) appeared in TV shows, including CID, and Punjabi films after Chak De! Masochon Zimik (Manipuri player Molly Zimik) never acted again; she works for an NGO in Manipur. Sandia Furtado (Nethra Reddy) is now a PR professional in Mumbai.
Anaitha Nair is now a hairdresser
Anaitha Nair (Aliya Bose in the film) acted in over five films after Chak De!; she is pursuing hairdressing, her second love. Arya Menon (Gul Iqbal) owns a production house now; she is a creative producer on Netflix's Sacred Games. Seema Azmi (Rani Dispotta), a National School of Drama alumnus, owns a theatre group 'Shila Shrinagar' and also appears in TV serials.
What inspired the film?
Writer Sahni said the victory of Indian women hockey team in the 2002 Commonwealth Games and also the 2004 Asia Cup triggered the idea for Chak De! More than the victories, the team, coaches, and the staff made him want to write a film.
One of the most successful Indian sports films
Chak De! India opened an array of opportunities for women athletes in the country. SRK said he did the film for his father who used to play Hockey. SRK, director Shimit Amin, and writer Jaideep Sahni say Chak De! will live on with its message on secularism, patriotism, and women empowerment. The Chak De! girls say the film is really special for them.
Girls are each other's support off screen too!
The girls say they spent a year together, living like sisters at the film's boot camp, and all that is still fresh in their memories. Even after Chak De!, the actresses have been there for each other. Shilpa Shukla (Bindiya Naik in the film) says the boot camp will "definitely" flash before her eyes even when her life comes to an end.
Portrayed every character in a very democratic way: Amin
Director Amin said: "Every role was etched out, though some had a bigger arc than the other. The pressure was on ensuring that everyone had a significant portrayal. He was really gracious and had soulfulness to inspire the players as their coach."