Gold a movie Directed by Reema Kagti is set in Backdrop of struggle for Independence and passion to win the Gold in sports of Hockey under the Flag of Independent India.
Gold, is a fictionalised account of the Indian hockey team’s historic win at the 1948 Olympics, but it shines intermittently. Barring a few golden moments smattered across a 170-minute film, this movie is more of a silver hitting than a gold.
Director Reema Kagti’s sporting epic shows signs of great moments but it comes in patches and it is hard to be hooked for nearly three hours.
Akshay Kumar plays the flawed rebel Tapan Das, who takes on the onus of resurrecting a fractured Indian hockey team at the 1948 Olympics as India is reeling in the aftermath of gaining independence from British rule. On a bad day, the Bengali sports manager is a glorified porter to his players as he picks up their bags and hockey sticks, but on a good day he’s an inspirational life coach who has a few game strategies up his sleeve.
Das, with an inconsistent Bengali twang, is also what you would call a high-functioning alcoholic who has the propensity to break out into a Bollywood dance in the company of stiff upper-lips. So basically, our hero is alcohol-guzzling and emotionally-charged, but when he isn’t inebriated and dancing on tables he’s fanning patriotic fervour by reminding his boys that they are up against the English team, who colonised India for 200 years. While Kumar’s acting isn’t particularly faulty, it feels a tad monotonous. This actor’s (who’s fast becoming the Bollywood’s go-to guy for activist roles) monologue towards the climax engulfs you with that been-there-seen-that feeling as he eggs his hockey champions to put their petty politics aside and be bigger men.
While Kagti gets the period detailing right, she falters on the story front. The conflicts within the team and the ego battles will remind you of another superior Hindi hockey film. It’s decidedly unfair to compare films. But when you have a memorable Bollywood blockbuster like Chak De! India starring Shah Rukh Khan as a coach who shepherds his women’s hockey team to victory, it is impossible to shrug off its lasting impressions.
While Amit Sadh, the privileged royalty, as the vice-captain of the hockey team knocks it out of the park as the slightly arrogant player, Kunal Kapoor pitches in effectively as the stoic hockey champion. Sunny Kaushal as the emotional Punjabi player is endearing. Vineet kumar as affected hockey player due to partition and later plays for Pakistan is good. But none of the boys have defining traits that make them memorable. Precious minutes are spent chronicling Tapan Das’ eccentricities and his propensity to dance. Two songs that underlined the revelry were unnecessary and fractured the pace of the sports film. However, the shots featuring the players in London at a packed stadium make for an intriguing watch.
Actress Mouni Das, who makes her film debut with Gold as Das’ feisty wife, seems like a ok, but does not have major screen presence. A sporting thriller is as good as its climax. While Gold is successful in evoking some patriotic fervour towards the end, the characters fail to leave a lasting impression.
But credit is due to Kagti for not making the film unnecessarily jingoistic. The strands that underlined the political reality of post-Independence India, where religious riots between Hindus and Muslims were raging, was well captured.
The film would have benefitted from some heavy-duty trimming and dialing down Das’ idiosyncrasies. If this film were to contest, it’s likely to have only walked away with a Silver medal.
Actors: Akshay Kumar, Amit Sadh, Vineet Kumar Singh, Sunny Kaushal, Mouni Roy
Stars: 3 out of 5
Strengths: Amith Sadh, Sunny Kaushal, Amith Sadh are strong in their limited screen space. Akshay kumar is average.
Weakness: Excessive screen space of Tapan Das (Akshay kumar) could have been avoided and the script could be bit tighter with focus about process of Winning Gold as major centre point. Also 2 drinking songs during team announcement could have been avoided or should have been reduced to one.