Chak de India – Movie review, and lessons for building a kickass team

Why am I writing a movie review here? Well, I strongly sense a few subtle lessons for team building in Chak de India, so thought why not share that with the readers of this site?

First, the movie review:
Kabir khan (SRK), India’s hockey team captain receives blows of insults after the Indian team loses out to Pakistan in the world cup finals. Moreover, the “khan” factor raises questions on his loyalty to the country and eventually he gets tagged as a traitor.

7 years later.

The Indian women hockey team is looking for a coach and of course, the association is not serious about the coach-hunt. It just doesn’t matter – these girls are supposed to do the household work and not play international level hockey. Even if they play, can they ever win?

chak de india

SRK, inspite of knowing the association’s callous attitude accepts the challenge and realizes that his real job is not about coaching, but keeping the entire team function as a single cohesive unit. The team had players with big egos, diverse background and different attitudes.

Hats off to the director, Shimit Amin for taking the path lesser traveled – i.e. hockey (and not cricket).

Chak de India stands apart because of following reasons:

  • The movie is very gripping – and the script is tightly coupled with the characters. I promise, you will be glued into the screen.
  • Choice of characters – Every player in the team truly represented their states, and the culture. Somehow, somewhere you will identify someone with each of these “next-door” characters
  • Attention to detail – Great amount of attention has been paid to the players, the diversity in culture, their language and team dynamics.
  • Where are the trees? Chak de India is probably one of the few YashRaj films with a verym low nonsense level. No unnecessary drama, no phoren site seeing..its all about the game. Very focused.
  • No Godness factor – Unlike the regular bollywood movies, Chak de..has stayed close to the ground and there is no attempt to make a God out of any actor (SRK included). They all fail, they all fight and lose out too.
  • Most importantly, SRK is not SRK in Chak de India- he has tried to get out of his comfort zone (i.e. the usual love story); and must say that he has done an awesome job.

Overall, Chak de India has a very gripping story, a great background score, right mix of comedy/emotions/actions; and in short, is a must watch.

Lets talk about the team dynamics and a few lessons for Indian startups:

One of the most sexy thing about working in startups is the kind of people you get to interact with – most of them are rock stars, smart ass guys! And isn’t that the quality of team you wanna build? The problem is that most of the rock stars carry a big ego tag – they “know” that they are always right; and this, obviously results in friction across the entire team.

Take the case of Bindiya, most experienced player in the team. She took everything for granted – she just knew that she was right..she had her own “fan following” and never cared about the game. Doesn’t she reminds you of your boss who goes on chopping new ideas, innovative solutions? Simply because he has “been there, done that!”?

Me-first attitude: Who doesn’t want to be the numero uno? Now, if I have to be the number 1, everybody else gotta be number 2 (and below). Haven’t you seen this kind of attitude in team members? The internal rivalry leads to people pulling each other down, competing against each other, and of course hoarding the information. What happens to the team? We all know the answer.

Chak de India portrayed this phenomena in a very subtle manner – the top scorers (Preeti Sabharwal and Komal Chautala) are competing to bag the highest scorer tag. So far so good. What really happens is that they start competing with each other and stop passing the ball to each other; which eventually turns out to be a boon to the opponent team.

If I go on, I will end up writing the entire story here! So, buddy go ahead and chak de for yourself.

Living up the team spirit , take your friends along too! It’ll be fun.

Also, do let me know of interesting lessons I have missed out?

Related: Beatles and Lessons on Teamwork.

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