Two Thumps Up – one for the actor the new age Manoj Kumar – Akshay Kumar the mascot of on screen patriotism and the other for our dear nation Hindustan aka India. GOLD by Reema Kagti is a crowd pleasing gift on Independence Day which is compelling, entertaining, inspiring, patriotically rewarding and more.
After PAD MAN, Akshay Kumar returns back on screen and this time as a manager of Indian Hockey team Tapan Das. The movie opens with the Indian hockey squad called as British India lead by Samrat (Kunal Kapoor) playing the finals of the 1936 Berlin Olympics against Germany. The revolt has triggered in India and the cry for independence is getting all the chorus, one such echo is heard just before the finals, two revolutionary hosts the Indian flag on the bus carrying the Indian hockey squad. The protestors are nabbed but Das grabs the flag and keeps it safe under his coat. The British India team thrashes Germany and wins the gold medal but alas, since India is still under the ‘British Raj’, the U.K. national anthem gets played. Das and Samrat vow to win the gold for an independent India. As the Indian freedom struggle gains momentum, the ambitions of Adolf Hitler results in World War 2 and 1940 and 1944 Olympics get cancelled. India is still to achieve its freedom but till then Das is a dejected soul immersed in alcohol. Finally, India is on the threshold of independence and the 1948 Olympics are announced to be held in London. Das seeks a new ray of light and dreams to beat England in London and avenge the oppression his nation suffered under the British Raj. Expelled from the Hockey Federation due to his unacceptable attitude regarding money, Das convinces the top boss from the hockey federation and begins the hunt for his dream team. Samrat refuses to be the captain and instead suggest the name of Imtiaz Shah (Vineet Kumar Singh) as the leader of the team. Imtiaz aggress and the dream team (India’s first official men in blue) is formed that consists of exceptional talents like Himmat Singh (Sunny Kaushal) and Raghubir Pratap Singh (Amit Sadh). Rest is how Das and his men in blue do the unbelievable and beat the British in their own land in just a year after attaining independence and how India’s first official hockey team won the gold at Olympics.
Rajesh Devraj screen writes the story by Reema Kagti and himself, based on a true incident –the story of India’s triumph of its first gold in field hockey at the Olympics. The writer’s attempt to make GOLD a complete package and not limit it to a sports flick, GOLD is undoubtedly an inspiring story, a story that definitely needs to be told, here it is told effectively in a crowd-pleasing manner with occasional undercurrents of partition and the sly comments on the unity and integrity of India.
No doubt, the déjà vu of the cult CHAK DE! INDIA starring SRK is felt. CHAK DE! INDIA has set a benchmark in sports flick and especially when hockey is at the helm of affairs, there is bound to be a recollect. Traces of CHAK DE! INDIA can be found and naysayers may call it Akshay Kumar’s reply to SRK’s CHAK DE! INDIA but the audience in general will be engaged in this captivating journey that is inspirational, nostalgic, patriotic and entertaining as well. Yes, the writer director had indulged in blatantly manipulate your emotions, going over the top at a couple of occasions but it all leads to that magically inspirational moment when the national anthem of Independent India is played for the first time in sports greatest arena – Olympics, the sight of Indian tricolor flagging high on foreign soil is a moment that every true Indian cherishes and GOLD shares that rare first moment in India’s history.
Apart from the climax when the moment arrives and our heart is filled with pride for Mother India, a couple of breathtaking moment’s standout as gems like the partition sequence and the breakup of team India and the brick sequence, pure gem.
Akshay Kumar is the heart and soul of GOLD. He entertains, inspires and makes us stand up in pride for our nation. Akshay uses his Bengali dialect intelligently. We see him defying norms and playing against his image and surrenders completely as Tapan Das, the moody Bengali. He smokes, gets sloshed, dances as if nobody is watching and he is not playing hockey in the film but still dribbles the audience and makes them laugh, cry at his will. Sheer brilliance.
Mouni Roy as Akshay’s wife Monobina is extremely beautiful and she has her moments. Her timings especially in confrontation scenes with Akshay are fabulous and they both share a unique chemistry.
Kunal Kapoor is a delight and his presence lights up the screen. The actor gives an impeccable performance in the given time and never falters.
Amit Sadh is outstanding, he shows great poise and understanding of his character and wins heart with an thoroughly endearing performance, he even gets some amazing lines which is bound to bring the house down.
Sunny Kaushal is unbelievable, the hidden surprise which shines at the right moment. Sunny as Himmat Singh is certainly a talent to watch out for. Vineet Kumar is a class part as Imtiaz, what a restrained and controlled performance. Nikita Dutta - Himmat’s love interest is endearing.
Production values are top notch. Special mention for Paul Rowan and Shailaja Sharma’s production design is a must. The bygone era is aptly projected. Aimee Mcdaniel’s sports scenes are good. Anand Subaya’s editing is praiseworthy. Alvaro Guierrez’s cinematography is fantastic. Music by Sachin–Jigar and Arko Pravo Mukherjee are passable.
After all the manipulations and references from known clichés from a sports genre, GOLD is undoubtedly a story that needs to be told, at times when people question India’s ability in the sports arena, GOLD is a reminder that The Indian field hockey team has enjoyed the status of being ‘unbeaten’ in the Olympics, winning six gold medals in a row and India is the most successful team ever in the Olympics, having won eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals till date. It all started with that historic 1948 triumph when the world recognized the power of India and Indian hockey. This GOLD is for every Indian who loves India.