Unlike Politics, sports give you a license to be irrational and support your team to the core. It's perfectly acceptable if you hate the opposing team and bully them with platitudes. As a supporter, you can be blind to the opposing team's strengths and weaknesses and cheer your team for all its fallibility. In a tradition (by that i mean, Bollywood) where its acceptable to paint the Goras of Lagaan as darkest devils possible or even all Pakistanis under terrorist masks, Chak De picks on an introspective note. It correctly identifies many of the problems associated with Indian team playing psychic. It starts with problems related to identity, multi-culturality and multi-linguality, continues with star-performer-takes-all mentality to basics of team playing before even starting to play any hockey. It then takes on more complicated issues of gender, equality and self-respect and does a fairly good job at dissecting them. The tone however remains observational/by-stander instead of getting preachy.
Shahrukh Khan, for the most part, remains the coach and not the Badshaah of sugar spilled Bollywood. Thankfully, little back stories for all characters, even Shahrukh Khan. No lady-love dying, taking death bed promises from him, no Ki-Ki-Kiran business (you know, how those line of stories can spiral). Cinematography is top notch with some professional sports cameramen expertise. Music is fairly good. Some of the dialogues are very well written with pages of unspoken footnotes. Casting is not bad, but could have been better. Overall, the movie respects your time and money.