Gold: A Movie Review

This 15th August release was timed perfectly with the patriotic fervour in the country during this time. As a result, this Akshay Kumar-starrer has done decently at the box-office, completing collections of Rs. 71.30 crore within a week of its release. But is it really worth your while to go out and catch this film?

The Reema Kagti- directorial is based in the early 20th century, before the beginning of the Second World War- when the Third Reich had just begun to establish itself as a strong dictatorial regime. The Indian Hockey team, with its captain Samrat (Kunaal Kapoor) and manager Tapan Das, (Akshay Kumar) was at its zenith, winning a gold medal for the third consecutive time in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. They beat the Germans on the home turf, much to the displeasure of the Fuhrer.  Their joy knew no bounds, except for the fact that this Gold was won for British India. And therein a dream was born. Tapan knew he wanted to get the Indian hockey team to win a Gold for free India- not just for the British.

The film begins with a lot of waiting- Tapan waiting for the World War to end and to start assembling the Indian Hockey Team to fulfill his dream. Meanwhile, two youths- one, a Sikh, from a not-so-well-to-do family; and the second, a Nawab, from a royal family- get inspired by the erstwhile Hockey team captain Samrat and begin their journeys in the hockey world, waiting to play for their country. All this while, there are montages from the Second World War going on in Europe, on the culmination of which, in 1946, the Olympics were announced to take place in London in the year 1948. Tapan knew it was now or never.

Gold, thus, builds up all these premises in the first half hour itself, for the rest of the story to unfold. The Nawab and the Sikh, meanwhile, have grown up to be introduced as the film’s two clashing characters- Raghubir Pratap Singh (Amit Sadh) and Himmat Singh (Sunny Kaushal). These two play Centre Forwards for their respective Province’s Hockey teams. The viewer is curious to see Tapan’s journey to win Gold with two forces as opposite as these two. The duo’s ego clashes and Tapan’s uncountable obstacles to build the team, carry the film forward. The team is also disembodied temporarily by the Indian freedom movement, with several Muslim players having to migrate to Pakistan. Tapan, however, never loses faith in his dream and does not get disillusioned with all these hurdles. His wife, Monobina Das, as played by Mouni Roy, beats him several times for indulging in alcohol, but never gives up his side and loves him too.

The good thing about Gold is- lack of heavy reliance on a single character or a single protagonist. Though Akshay Kumar as Tapan is the primary facilitator of all the activities of the team- he is not in the limelight throughout. Erstwhile Hockey Captain Samrat, played by Kunal Kapoor, has a more crucial role in certain parts of the film. Amit Sadh and Sunny Kaushal, both, have done a commendable job in their respective clashing roles- with great dialogue delivery and a noteworthy on-screen presence. Sunny Kaushal was definitely ‘the man of the movie’ if any such title existed. His stellar acting easily rivalled that of his elder brother, (and maybe future competitor), Vicky Kaushal. Another mention must be made for the character of Imtiaz Ali Shah, played by Vineet Singh, who shares the same zeal for Indian hockey even after migrating to Pakistan. The comparision with Chak De! was inevitable, it being a film on Hockey with a male lead. However, Gold outdid Chak De! in terms of its historical representations, its strong character portrayals, and the significance of the socio-cultural circumstances and environment during the period it is based on.

What Gold does not nail is- the delicate balance between the humour and the struggle. The film does have its lighter moments- but overall a serious undertone. Also, the extensive use of VFX and chroma screens in almost every hockey match seemed to pop out into our faces, and got quite disturbing at times. One may also feel that Gold could have had a stronger patriotic undertone to invoke the latent emotions within the audience. Akshay Kumar’s unnecessary antics as a drunkard could also have been avoided. The music score could have done wonders, which overall it didn’t quite succeed at.

All in all, one can say, that Gold, although fictionalized- has a lot of strong research and strong characters backing it- and should definitely be watched to appreciate the same!




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