'Gold' movie review: Worth a watch this weekend?
Should you go ahead and catch this movie over the weekend? Read our review to find out.
Nothing binds Indians like sports. And if it is a match against their neighbour or England, the patriotism is at an all-time high.
Reema Kagti's Gold is a fictional account, inspired by true events of India's first gold medal won as an independent nation at the 1948 Olympics in London. At the fore, we have Tapan Das (Akshay Kumar) as the team manager of the Indian hockey team, struggling to put together a team for the Olympics.
The movie opens with 1936 Olympics in Berlin and we have a team lead by Kunal Kapoor winning the match against the Nazis. After a lull of 12 years, when Tapan has become irrelevant as no international hockey matches are played, comes London Olympics in 1948.
Tapan, the Bengali-speaking manager, is at the centre of the action, as he grabs the opportunity and sets out to scout talent for the national team.
Things go for a toss when India is divided, and so is the team. The riot that ensues gives us some worthy moments in the film - like the former Indian captain who has to leave for Pakistan to save his life, the Indian Muslims who choose to live in India after the partition.
Akshay Kumar shares the spotlight with the hockey team players, led by Imtiaz Ali Shah (Vineet Kumar Singh), Himmat Singh (Sunny Kaushal), Raghubir Pratap Singh (Amit Sadh) from a royal family, Samrat (Kunal Kapoor) and they become the team we can trust in.
Raghubhir as the royal portrays class and arrogance in his role, Himmat is convincing as the turban-wearing passionate player. It is good to see Kunal Kapoor as Samrat as he trains the team for the Olympics. Although we see Akshay Kumar prominently as he is facilitating the progression of the film, the other actors get their fair share to shine.
Although not totally relevant to the film, short backstories of the players could have made us invest us more in them. But ultimately the story is not about them - it's about India participating in the Olympics despite odds and emerging a winner.
The film tries to evoke patriotism in us as we hear Tapan and his wife Monobina (Mouni Roy) use the words '200 Saal Ki Ghulami' (200 years of oppression) more than one time in the film. And not to mention, the thick Bengali accent the couple converses in throughout the film.
The film might remind you of Chak De! India in bits with situations like power play in the team, the politics and interference of the hockey federation, team players grouping themselves according to their states and finally all the players coming together as a team to make the country proud.
There might be minor flaws but Gold is made of small moments that will warm your heart. In the beginning few minutes of the film we see the team 'British India' defeat the Nazis and as the Union Jack soars high, Tapan lets out the Indian Tricolour and the players join in saluting the flag. Towards the end, during the semi-finals, we see Indians cheering for the Pakistani team against the Netherlands and the Pakistanis returning to cheer the Indian team in their final with Britain. Oh, did we mention - the English folks also rooting for India! It gives a glimpse of a world we can only aspire for.
The final 30 minutes are important for any sports film and Gold plays by the rule. It delivers nail-biting sequences towards the end with powerful drums adding to the high-octane climax.
We know the story line, we know the climax, but yet you can't help but become a cheerleader. As the drama unfolds and the Indian national anthem plays, few in the audience stood up to pay their respects. It is this moment where the film emerges victorious!
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Mouni Roy, Vineet Kumar Singh, Amit Sadh, Kunal Kapoor
Director: Reema Kagti