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Chak De India, Yash Raj Films' landmark hit about a group of young girls forgetting their differences and carrying India to the hockey World Cup title was honoured with the 'Billies', the ultimate accolade for depictions of women's sporting achievement.
Named after Billie Jean King, the tennis legend who defeated Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes", the Billies were handed out in four categories "Breakthrough&Innovation", "Entertainment", "Journalism", and "Outstanding Journalist". Chak De India was declared the best in the "Entertainment" category at a ceremony attended by sporting greats like Aimee Mullins (Track&Field), Julie Foudy (Soccer), Michelle Kwan (Figure Skating), Rosie Casals (Tennis Player), Tony Gonzalez (Football), Tracy Austin (Tennis) and many others. Living legend Elton John wowed the audience with his performance, including a heartful rendition of "Philadelphia Song", which he had written in honour of Billie Jean King.
Commented Yash Chopra, Chairman, Yash Raj Films, "Chak De India continues to pay back the faith we had reposed in the movie even when conventional wisdom would have dictated otherwise. To win accolades like this from around the world, especially from places where depictions of women's sport has had a long and established tradition is especially heartening. It was an honour to be selected by such a distinguished panel of women's sports historians, journalists and media industry executives. But while we cherish this honour, the greatest reward for the movie was undoubtedly the love and affection that was showered on it by audiences worldwide."
Shimit Amin, the director of the movie, picked up the award on behalf of Yash Raj Films. He later said, "The reaction to the movie was simply fantastic. You would not believe that this was a foreign audience- comprised of professional writers, critics and industry professionals for the most part- the way they reacted. It just reinforced our belief that the message of the movie and the performances of Shahrukh Khan and the girls cuts across all boundaries."
All in all, India is simply proud of both of you. Chak De SRK and Yash Raj!