Shimit Amin-directed Chak De! India turns 15 today – can you believe it! Starring Shah Rukh Khan as Kabir Khan – the former captain of the India men’s field hockey team who coaches the Indian women’s hockey team to win the hockey world cup, the film was declared a blockbuster at the box office – but did you know SRK and the makers originally feared it being a flop?
Well, this is completely true. In fact, the actor once even called it the ‘worst film we had ever made’ while addressing a student’s question – relating to the highlights of his film career, during an interaction at the University of Edinburgh. There, Khan opened up about how he and the makers of the film feared the sports drama would boom at the box office and here’s what he had to say.
While interacting with the students at the prestigious university, Shah Rukh Khan named Chak De! India as a highlight of his career. As reported by India Forum, SRK revealed he and the makers feared it would be a flop saying, “We had some of the brightest minds making the film like Aditya Chopra, Jaideep Sahni, Shimit Amin. We had young girls who learnt how to play hockey. We had Yash Chopra backing it. But when I saw the film at its first screening, we all looked at it and felt it was the worst film we had ever made in our lives.”
Shah Rukh Khan continued, “The (Chak De! India) girls didn’t know this because for them seeing themselves on screen for the first time was a big thing. So they were irritatingly screaming and dancing while the four of us were sitting there and crying. We had reached that stage of failure where you start telling people listen we did what we wanted to. This is what we set out to make and success and failure is transient and we will come back. It was really really sad.”
While the anticipation was killing them, the success of the film caught him by surprise. Recalling what happened after the screening right until the first reviews came in, SRK said, “After the screening, Shimit ran away to America, I came to England and all of us dispersed. I switched off my phone and went to sleep. I woke up at 4 in the evening after an intake of lot of alcohol as I was very depressed because we thought the film was good and it turned out not so nice. So I woke up at 4 and it was 9 in the morning in India. And by then everybody, the whole country had loved the film and it was such a huge success that we actually didn’t believe it.”
Helmed by Shimit Amin with a screenplay by Jaideep Sahni, Chak De! India was released in 2007. While the makers and the lead actor – Shah Rukh Khan were originally skeptical about its performance, the now almost-cult film went on to collect a total of Rs 102 crore at the worldwide box office.