Harking back to his role of a tough and dedicated hockey coach in the acclaimed sports drama Chak De! India, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan on Monday encouraged the Indian women’s hockey team, who made their maiden entry into the Olympic semifinals, to bring a gold medal.
Shah Rukh played Kabir Khan in the 2007 Shimit Amin-directorial film which saw his character lead the Indian women’s hockey team to their win against Australia in the World Cup. Coincidentally, the reel victory was scripted in real life today after the team, led by Dutch coach Sjoerd Marijne and captain Rani Rampal, created history by advancing to its first ever semifinal at the Olympics in Tokyo after beating three-time champions Australia by a solitary goal.
After the win, Marijne apologised to his family for delaying his travel plans in a tweet, quipping “Sorry family. I coming again later. (sic)” To which Shah Rukh, true to his witty persona, replied saying bringing a gold medal on their return would be a suitable gift for him on Dhanteras, which this year coincidentally falls on the actor’s 56th birthday. “Haan haan no problem. Just bring some Gold on your way back….for a billion family members. This time Dhanteras is also on 2nd Nov. From: Ex-coach Kabir Khan,” the Bollywood star wrote.
On Dhanteras, which marks the first day of the five-day festival of Diwali, people purchase utensils and jewellery to bring good luck.
Marijne expressed his gratitude to the actor in a cheeky tweet. “Thank you for all the support and love. We will give everything again. From: The Real Coach,” he wrote alongside a photo with the team after winning the match.
Following the win, hashtags of ‘Kabir Khan’ and ‘Chak De! India’ started trending on the microblogging site Twitter.
Other Bollywood personalities like Anushka Sharma, Arjun Kapoor, and Taapse Pannu also celebrated the historic achievement and congratulated the team on social media.
Describing the win as a “Chak! De” moment, Pannu said the victory was humbling. “Our chakk de moment never felt more real! Our girls beat the Aussies 1-0 and stormed into the semis! Go for it @imranirampal your girls have our heart,” Pannu wrote, tagging Rampal.
Sharma took to Instagram and wrote that the women’s hockey team had made the entire country proud. “India creates history again!! Congratulations to the women’s hockey team on qualifying for the semi finals! Super proud,” the actor-producer wrote.
A day after the Indian men’s team entered the Olympic semifinals following a 49-year gap, the world no. 9 women’s side also produced a phenomenally gritty performance against the world no 2 Australia in an intense quarterfinals.
In another post, Sharma, 33, lauded the men’s team and said it was a “glorious” moment for India. “Incredible performance! Congratulations on qualifying for the semis. What a glorious moment for our country! Men’s and Women’s hockey teams are into the semis!”
Kapoor shared the news of the win on Instagram and wrote, “What a proud moment for us! Both our hockey teams went into the semi finals! Let’s go team India. We’re so proud.”
Actor Randeep Hooda said it was surreal to witness the game imitating the thrill of the film “Chak De! India”. “What a match. Super defending. Real imitates Reel #ChakDeIndia. History created by the Indian Women's #hockeyindia first semi final like ever,” Hooda tweeted.
Actors Ayushmann Khurrana and Disha Patani also lauded the women’s hockey team for the win. “Yes we are in the semis! Indian women's hockey team, what a win! #ChakDeIndia #IndianHockey,” actor Neha Dhupia wrote.
The Indian side will play Argentina in the semifinal on Wednesday.
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