In the latest edition of Film Companion's Inside A Scene, Chak De! India director Shimit Amin dissects the now iconic 'Sattar Minute' locker room speech. He spoke to us about the significance of the scene, his brief to Shah Rukh Khan, and why he wanted it to be more than a stereotypical lock room scene.
This scene is nothing without Jaideep Sahni's dialogue. We always knew that we would have a locker room scene and for a couple of months we thought about what could look like. We didn't want to make it abstract about victory and all that jazz. We then came to the idea that time is a very important thing. We wanted to say that we would never get back the time that we have lost.
The locker room speech is such a staple. There are so many variations of it but it's always about one person speaking and everybody just reacting quietly and silently without any interaction and that could make for very boring filmmaking. Words are what drives these types of sequences and so you need to give the space to the words and a platform to sit on. The rest of it is just Shah Rukh. That line he says 'aur har uss insaan se jisne tum par bharosa nahi kiya', is very crucial because it's universal, but also specific also to these characters and these women.
I didn't want to make it typical back and forth type of a shot. I wanted this whole scene to be in one take, but it was impossible because we had other characters and we needed to see their reaction. I wanted it to at least feel like one take, although there are cuts in it. I decided that we'll shoot it in one-takes. We took the steady-cam and we just shot it in one long take, following Shah Rukh around. He wasn't restricted, so he could just walk anywhere and be anywhere. In the first take we decided where he is going to do certain things but we jut kept repeating it with different fluid motions to try to cover it in a way that makes it feel seamless.
He understood what it took for the scene – which was him. Shah Rukh just felt the script. He is so intuitive. He connected so well with this genre. He and I didn't go into very detailed conversations about the film because he just got it. He had done his homework so well that he understood the woundedness of the character, and that what he was fighting for was his dignity. That came out really well.