'Maidaan' VS 'Chak De! India': What’s Similar and What’s Different? Find Out

‘Maidaan’, Ajay Devgn’s Eid release, is reminiscent of Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Chak De! India’. Here is a look at what’s similar between them.

‘Maidaan’, which hit screens on April 11, has received rave reviews with critics lauding Ajay Devgn’s work and the relatable plot. Its box office performance, however, has not been up to the mark. The flick has collected nearly Rs 10 crore in two days despite being an Eid release. Interestingly, ‘Maidaan’ has shades of Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Chak De! India’, one of the finest sports dramas of all time. Here is a look at the striking similarities and stark differences between them. 


Story: Both Are Underdog Tales


‘Maidaan’ and ‘Chak De!’ India are both essentially underdog sagas with patriotic undertones. Devgn’s film centres on the Indian football team’s journey from being pushovers to becoming a force to be reckoned with in Asia. Similarly, ‘Chak De! India’ focuses on the Indian Women’s Hockey Team’s rise to prominence despite the odds being against them. 

The origins of these stories, however, are as different as chalk from cheese. ‘Maidaan’ is based on the life of legendary football manager SA Rahim, who ushered in the ‘golden age’ of Indian football. The story explores his personal life, aspirations, and his health issues. ‘Chak De! India’, on the other hand, was a work of fiction. However, some of the accusations the protagonist faced mirrored Mir Ranjan Negi’s plight after the Asian Games in 1982. Jaideep Sahni, the writer of the film, once addressed these similarities and called them a coincidence. 

Presentation: Some Scenes Are Similar

In ”Maidaan’, the Indian team suffers a defeat at the hands of South Korea in the Asian Games. Rahim’s men get their act together and reach the finals where they lock horns with South Korea again. Things, however, play out differently this time as India holds its nerve to emerge as winners.

ALSO READ | ‘Maidaan’ Review: Ajay Devgn Powers Commendable Yet Middling Sports Drama

Similarly, in Chak De! India, the Hockey team lost to Australia the first time the sides met in the World Cup but edged past them in the finals in a keenly contested match. Both films also feature inspiring speeches from the coaches. In Maidaan, Rahim urges his team to understand the ‘power one one’. Chak De!, on the other hand, is best remembered for the sequence in which Kabir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) motivates his ‘gang of girls’ to play their hearts out for ‘sattar minute’. 

Both films also steer clear of over-the-top drama and feature intense yet realistic narratives. 

Themes Explored

Regionalism was one of the key themes ‘Chak De! India’ explored during its narrative. In fact, in a memorable sequence, King Khan proudly said ‘Mujhe states ka naam na sunai..’. ‘Maidaan’ also deals with the issue but doesn’t delve into it in detail.

In addition to regionalism, ‘Chak De! India‘ also dealt with themes such as religious bigotry and sexism. ‘Maidaan’, however, does not feature any such subplots. That said, the Amit Sharma-helmed film has its fair of political undertones. The film’s second half highlights how the Indian football team faces protests during the Asian Games in Indonesia after an Indian diplomat criticises the local government for excluding two countries from the event. 

Moreover, redemption is a theme common to these films. ‘Chak De!’ centred on Kabir’s attempts at regaining his lost glory after being subjected to hatred. Similarly, in ‘Maidaan’, Rahim is shown the door after the team fails to progress beyond the group stages of an important competition. Following this, he begs for one last chance to fulfill his dream of taking Indian football to the zenith. The rest of the narrative focuses on how he realises his dreams despite his health issues. 

So, how did you find ‘Maidaan’? Did you find it similar to ‘Chake De! India’? Tell us in the space below