Cast: Akshay Kumar, Mouni Roy, Vineet Kumar Singh, Amit Sadhan, Kunal Kapoor
Director: Reema Kagti
Rating: 3.5/ 5
Sports bind India like nothing else can; and if the match that is being played is against your neighbouring country or England, the levels of patriotism are very high. Reema Kagti’s ‘Gold’ is a fictitious account that is inspired by some true events from India’s win in the 1948 Olympics as a newly independent nation.
First of all, we have Tapan Das (Akshay Kumar) as Team Manager of the Indian Hockey team, which is struggling to play together. The film starts with the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and we have Kunal Kapoor leading the team and winning the game against the Nazis. After 12 years of no major events, when an international hockey match is played, Tapan becomes irrelevant. In 1948, it is time for the London Olympics. Bengali speaking managers are at the center of the plot because they grab the opportunity and come to scout for talent for the national team.
When India is divided during Partition, things go for a toss toss, and the same happens to the hockey team also. The scenes related to this incident give us ample emotional moments in the film – the former Indian captain has to leave Pakistan to save his life, the Indian Muslims who choose to stay in India after partition, etc. Akshay Kumar shares the spotlight with the players of the hockey team, led by the Emperor (Kunal Kapoor), Imperial Ali Shah (Vineet Kumar Singh), the royal family of Raghubir Pratap Singh (Amit Sadhu), Himmat Singh (Sunny Kaushal), and the team we can trust.
In the form of a royal, Raghubir shows class and ego in his role. Dare is confident as a turban-wearing player. It is nice to see Kunal Kapoor as the emperor because he trains the team for the Olympics. Although we get to watch Akshay Kumar in most parts because he is facilitating the film’s progress, other artists get to shine as well. Backstories of the players could have been given more screen time; however, the film is not about them at all – it’s about India. There is an attempt to highlight patriotism in the film; the film talks about the 200 years of harassment that Indians faced in the hands of the British, multiple times. And not to mention, the thick Bengali accent is shown perfectly in this movie.
Rima Kagti seems effective enough to give us a dynamic film, even if it seems far from reality. Kumar plays a completely fictional character Tapan, which is closely related to Indian hockey. During the Second World War, the ‘British Indian’ hockey magicians, under Chand, did well in the 1936 Olympics (in the movie, we see a character playing Hitler stomp out of the stadium), when the Indian freedom struggle was at its peak. Later, the nightmares of the Partition separated the hockey team as well.
The film may remind you of Sharukh’s ‘Çhak De! India’. Despite conditions such as play, drama, hockey federation politics, Indian intervention, and team players involving themselves in groups according to their states, in the end all the players coming together as a team to make the country proud. There may be slight flaws, but ‘GOLD’ is made up of small moments that will warm your heart. Initially, in the first few minutes of the film, India defeats the Nazis with the team name as ‘British India’. Also, there is a Parsi gentleman who facilitates things between Tapan and his boys amongst whom is the nervous Thakur (sadh), and a young Sadar (skills).
The screenplay is beautifully written with the right amount of exciting scenes that lead up to the grand finale. It is not that Akshay is not complete. He immerses himself in the role; although there are many scenes with Akshay and his wife and the ones that show his character development. However, the film focuses its attention on the game and players.
Some unnecessary song-and-dance that slow down pace of the film could have been avoided. Despite such problems, the film is worth the watch, some well-done comedy, skirmish between the players, and the emerging ends. When the ‘Tiranga’ rose in the film, I got very excited.
The last 30 minutes in any sports movie are important and ‘Gold’ plays according to this rule. It provides endless nail-biting sequences with the powerful drum sounds, which connect to a high-octane climax. We know the story line, we know mountaineering, but still, you cannot help but become a cheerleader. As drama comes out and the Indian national anthem plays, some of the viewers were standing to pay their respect. This is the moment where the film won!
This post was originally published on the author’s blog
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