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Everything about Chak De India

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By: Faridoon Shahryar, IndiaFM
Monday, August 06, 2007
Jaideep Sahni is a new age writer and lyricist with quality films like Company, Khosla Ka Ghosla and super hit films like Bunty Aur Babli to his credit. He is excited about his next film Chak De India starring Shahrukh Khan and Vidya Malvade which according to him is the story of an underdog. IndiaFM chatted up with him on what all went into making Chak De happen, how the team is dealing with the thanda response to the promotional video of the film and why Shahrukh Khan wasn't unhappy with the film's director as reported in some media circles.

How did Chak De India happen?
Three years back I was in Delhi. At that time I came across a report in the news paper that the Indian women's hockey team had won an international tournament. My heart swelled with pride. The write up was very small and that struck me. If the Indian cricket team would have won something, then they would have got two pages. This subject kept turning in my head. It grew on me. I researched, read a lot on hockey and hung around in stadiums. After Bunty Aur Babli, Adi asked me what are you doing next! I told him there's a story that is not leaving my head. It is about women's hockey team, they do well against foreign teams who have hundred times better resources. I narrated to Adi and he said that this film has to be made. I started developing it and then the principal character of coach came in. Shimit joined us and he is not the kind of person who'd do a film just for the heck of it.

Why did you think of Shahrukh Khan to play the coach?
Once we started writing, it just seeped into our minds that Shahrukh has to be there. He has been a hockey player and we found the same spirit in him.

What was the next step?
The search for girls took half a year and training them took about four months. Searching for the players was a hell of a task. There were parts where we required the physical presence while there were some parts for which we needed actors. Then we realized it was a much bigger thing. From 4:30 in the morning till 2:30 in the afternoon all players were practicing hockey after that till evening tea it was time for acting. After evening tea there was dialect training. The players were from all over the country and the dialect had to be right. After that there was gym, sauna and injury management. We also had motivation speakers, players from various sports etc. We had decided that we won't roll camera till the time they look like players. A team has to look like a team. Then there were readings of their parts with Shahrukh.

The promos of the film haven't generated much curiosity. In fact there were reports that the video of one of the song was hooted when it was played in between Jhoom Barabar Jhoom.
We had been sleeping for 2-3 hours at night. We saw these things in the papers but we were too much into it. Once it got over we slept uninterrupted. The curiosity about the film is natural as it's an underdog story. Our entire promotion plan is a mix of all kinds of things. We showed the music video. It was a new thing. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.

What about reports of SRK being unhappy with Shimit Amin and the entire making of the film?
Interestingly we used to laugh at all these reports. If anyone works with Shahrukh they know the kind of commitment he brings. He also acted as an off screen coach as well. He helped in things like crowd management.

Movies based on sports haven't worked in Bollywood barring a rare Lagaan. Does that bother you?
If a movie is a worthwhile experience people will come and watch it. Our job is to tell stories and that's what counts.

You're also associated with Madhuri's comeback film Aaja Nachle?
I've written the script and lyrics.

What are your forthcoming projects?
I've written lyrics for Disney-Yashraj's venture Roadside Romeo directed by Jugal Hansraj. I've also written lyrics for the title track of Johny Gaddar.

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