- Vidya Malavade co-starred with SRK in 'Chak De! India'
- "We all had these tiny crushes on him of course," said Vidya
- "He had this amazing quality of bringing us together," she added
14 years ago, Shah Rukh Khan introduced us to Kabir Khan on the big screen - he played the coach of an underdog women's hockey team in 2007 sports drama Chak De! India, which released on August 10 that year. Actress Vidya Malavade, who was cast as Vidya Sharma, the captain of the women's hockey team, opened up about her experience of working with a superstar. Speaking to ETimes, Vidya Malavade revealed that not only she but also the rest of the cast, who formed the women's hockey team in Chak De! India, were smitten by Shah Rukh Khan. Vidya and his co-stars crushed on the superstar and even had a nickname for him.
Here's what Vidya Malavade said in the interview: "Shah Rukh Khan is the most humble actor and he is incredibly patient. In Chak De! India, some of us were actors, some were players. He was both. He is a fantastic sportsman. We had a name for him on the set. We used to call him, 'Papa Bear'. We all had these tiny crushes on him of course because, hello, he was Shah Rukh Khan (laughs)!" Led by Vidya Malavade and Sagarika Ghatge, the women's hockey team in Chak De! India also comprised Shilpa Shukla, Tanya Abrol, Chitrashi Rawat, Shubhi Mehta, Anaitha Nair, Arya Menon, Kimi Laldawla, Masochon Zimik, Sandia Furtado, Nichola Sequeira, Kimberly Miranda, Seema Azmi, Raynia Mascerhanas and Nisha Nair. After the film's release, they were often referred to as the "Chak De! girls."
Vidya Malavade added in her interview that Shah Rukh was not only their coach in the film but also in real life while filming Chak De! India: "He had this amazing quality of bringing us together as a team. He was very mindful of what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong. Some of us were acting for the first time so they would not know where the light was coming from. He would always be there, teaching things. He would tell us little things that would enhance our performances. He was literally like a coach to us on the sets."
In Chak De! India, Shah Rukh Khan brilliantly portrayed the role of a disgraced hockey team coach, who made a memorable comeback, leading the women's hockey team to victory at the World Cup. Only recently, Shah Rukh Khan was spotted cheering for the real life women's hockey team for their performance at the ongoing Olympics. "Heartbreak," Shah Rukh tweeted last week after the women's hockey team lost 3-4 to Great Britain in the bronze medal match, adding: "But all reasons to hold our heads high. Well played Indian Women's Hockey Team. You all inspired everyone in India. That itself is a victory."
Directed by Shimit Amin, Chak De! India is to be one of the most iconic sports films of Bollywood. Among its many accolades, Chak De! India won the National Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.