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Chak De! India dream turns reality: Rani Rampal & co. defeat Australia in hockey

Sometimes reality overlaps with cinema and magic happens - the Indian Women's Hockey team created history by thrashing Australia and storming into the semi-finals!

India Women
History-makers: The Indian Women's Hockey team sailed into their first semi-final at the Olympics (Source: Getty Images)

Sohinee Basu

Updated: 2 Aug 2021 7:39 AM GMT

In a country as invested in its pop culture that the moment that the word hockey comes up, the mind immediately travels to one Chak De! India and its coach Kabir Khan leading the pack of girls to World Cup victory, no wonder the Women's Hockey quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics was a nail-biting fest featuring the same two sides - India and Australia, only this wasn't happening in the space of a silver screen, but very much in tangible reality!

The Tokyo Olympics, so far, has become the story of pinch-and-you-believe-it moments and as the Indian women's hockey team caused their biggest upset ever by defeating 3-time Olympic champions, Australia and booked themselves a place in the semi-finals, for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, a wave of celebrations flooded over. Move over, Shahrukh's Kabir Khan, the real show was brought by Sjoerd Marijne's girls today as they put on their bravest fight so far and created history to storm into the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympics.

If you thought the final minutes of Chak De! India was tough on your nerves, think again, because the quarter-final clash was all that and much more - as a dream came to life. The Rani Rampal led pack rose to the occasion and how as they maintained their cool against the World No. 2 team from Australia to knock on the doors of history and practically, broke it down, to march forward into their maiden semi-finals, oozing sheer confidence.

Chak De! becomes reality

The jubilant Indian Women's Hockey team after their win against Australia (Source: Twitter)

Just as the match-up was announced and India was slated to play their quarter-finals against Australia, the worry lines spiked up as this wasn't going to be easy. It wasn't even easy in the Shimit Amin film, so how could it remotely be a stress-free ticket to the semi-finals for the Indian women because the Hockeyroos are one formidable team that needed to be tamed sternly.

As the match began and India's best drag flicker, Gurjit Kaur scored the lone goal at the 22nd minute mark, sheer chills ran down the spine of every Indian as they watched with disbelief as Chak De! India seemed to come to life. Full of a lot of will-they-won't-they moments, with hearts in the mouth and throat going dry and eyes unable to blink as the emotionally charged quarter-final played out, Indians sat on the edge of their seats, unable to realize that - yes, THIS IS HAPPENING!

The Australian side kept a close tab on the Indians but it was not supposed to be their day as the Indian women were top-notch from start to finish, defending every corner and surviving every attack from the Australians. Into the dying minutes of the match, with the heart palpably beating too loudly, Australia found itself with two penalty strike opportunities. Another flash-back to Chak De! India and the do-or-die penalty shoot-outs in the film, Indians crossed their fingers and watched unblinkingly, the heart racing too quickly as Savita Punia pulled a ditto Vidya Sharma act and saved the two penalty corners and edged India closer to realizing this surreal dream!

This doesn't happen often, events like this are as rare as they come but sometimes cinema overlaps with reality, spilling into each other and creating sheer magic. The final hoot and the scene will be remembered for a whole eternity as just like the movie, the Indian team rushed onto the field as the Australian side, fell down to their knees, the tears streaming down their faces as they missed out on the medal opportunity and failed to even score a single goal. A dream had been realized as the women power on - giving Chak De! India a run for its money by producing a nerve-wracking thriller all their own!

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