Chak De! India: Here’s What Shah Rukh Khan’s On-Screen Girls Are Doing Now!
Chak De! India marked the debut of 16 young girls, who lived their dream of working with Shah Rukh Khan in a film. Directed by Shimit Amin, the 2007 film was a game-changer among Bollywood films that was lauded, not only for SRK’s intense performance as the Indian women’s hockey team coach but also the way it empowered women in sports.
Today, on the film’s 10th anniversary, Chak De girls share how the film changed their life and what they are doing now.
Sagarika Ghatge aka Preeti Sabharwal
Chak De wasn’t a planned move but I feel lucky it came my way. I believe that things, when they are meant to happen, they happen. I had just finished studies and wanted to go abroad to the universities when Chak De happened. I’ve always been into dramatics in school, so somewhere it was always there but obviously I had no idea as to how it would shape up.
Right now, I am really concentrated on doing films like Iraada, which was a very special film for me and it gave out a message too. So there are these films I believe in and people also appreciated me. So, I am looking at doing more meaning films. I’m also looking forward to my bilingual thriller film that’s coming up.
Tanya Abrol aka Balbir Kaur
Chak De is the reason I am in Mumbai and a part of this industry. I wanted to join civil service but in my graduation only, I got the opportunity and such great exposure. The film made me so popular and it’s not only inspiring for the audience but for us as well.
Currently, I am signed for a show for Star Plus with Rashmi Sharma productions. We have shot the pilot and in a couple of months we will start shooting.
Anaitha Nair aka Aliya Bose
Chak De allowed me some sort of validation. When I look back at my acting past, it’s a nice feeling to say, ‘wow, I was part of a film that became so huge that is remembered till today as a good quality piece of cinema.’ Also, it became a sure shot way for any person I’ve ever met in terms of starting a conversation with me. They are like ‘oh you were in Chak De. How was the experience like? How was it working with SRK?’
Nowadays, I am a mother of a three-and-half year old daughter and I’m a full time hairdresser. I live in Hong Kong and it’s been six and a half years now.
Vidya Malvade aka Vidya Sharma
Chak De got me friends and sisters for life. I love my girls and the bond we share. It’s like a family outside of my family. The film got me recognition and respect. Even today, when I walk on the street, people call me the captain. Each time the film comes on TV, till today, I get messages with people telling me that they liked my performance.
On the work front, I have done a couple of short films in the last one year. Besides that, I have bagged a big project that shall be announced soon. Also, I have been into spiritual practice and energy healing. I teach yoga and do retreats and workshops all over the world, so I travel quite a bit including America and Sri Lanka.
Chitrashi Rawal aka Komal Chautala
Chak De was the best thing that ever happened to me and it changed my whole world. In fact, it changed my perception about life that anything can happen anytime. It has given me respect among people and also in the industry, and fans instantly connect with me as my character I played in the film and they just feel I am one of them. So, that has really stayed with me and that one work sometimes defines me.
At present, I am doing a comedy show for SAB TV called Shankar Jai Kishen 3 in 1 in which I pay the lead role. Also, since last two years, I have also started doing theatre and my shows keep happening in Mumbai, across India and outside the country too. I have worked in plays such as Baap ka Baap with Asrani, Padmini Kolhapure and Naveen Bawa. Another play that we have done four shows for is Amavas Se Amaltas. I have also signed a film and on the verge of signing another film. This year, I’m also going to be part of Box Cricket League and will be playing cricket this in a celebrity league.
Shilpa Shukla aka Bindiya Naik
Chak De India changed my life by bringing me to Mumbai and making me stay there for a decade, a place that was never in my plan! Acting was. The film gave me name, fame and taught me the game. It gave me awards and accolades but most important, it gave me a chance to bring out the hero in me. It gave me wings of gratitude & a chance to grow.
Presently, I have been assisting renowned playwright and director Mahesh Dattani. I acted in a Cineplay for him called The Big Fat City. Under his guidance, I have written an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Hindi and Chattisgarhi and I also assisted him on direction in the award winning play Final Solution. When not working, I don’t stay in Mumbai and am mostly in Delhi, Himachal and Bihar.
Shubhi Mehta aka Gunjan Lakhani
Chak De played a significant part in shaping where I am today. I’m both grateful for and humbled by this experience. It continues to impact me on a daily basis and not a day goes by without its mention in one form or another. 10 years on and I’m still recognised as Gunjan every time I step out.
Nowadays, I run my own company called Excellerate. I’m an experiential educator, coach and a corporate trainer. I also pursue work as a sports/entertainment anchor Live or on TV.