The bronze medal slipped out of its grasp but the Indian women's hockey team earn plaudits for its gritty display against Great Britain in the play-off match as the country celebrated the side's best-ever performance at the Olympics.
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 reacted to the same and tweeted, “Heartbreak!!! 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.”
The history-making Indian women's hockey team, which had already surpassed all expectations by entering the semifinals of the Games for the first time, signed off with a fourth place finish after going down to Great Britain 3-4 in the bronze medal play-off.
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.
When the team advanced to its first ever semifinal, Dutch coach Sjoerd 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.
The friendly banter between the reel and real coaches, however, also led to some social media users trolling Khan. Some tweeples criticised the actor for allegedly taking away the limelight from Marijne, who hails from the Netherlands, with another writing that people should celebrate real heroes and not film stars.
There was also plenty of support for the superstar with a fan digging out a 2017 tweet of Rani Rampal, Indian women's hockey team captain, where she praised the actor's "Chak De! India".
Sharing a tweet by Doordarshan on the film's screening on its channel, Rampal had tagged Shah Rukh and wrote, "@iamsrk sir your movie is really a big motivation."
With PTI inputs
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)