Filmfare Middle East rating:
Directed by Reema Kagti
Produced by Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani
Starring Akshay Kumar, Mouni Roy, Vinit Kumar Singh, Nikita Dutta, Amit Sadh, Kunal Kapoor
Pick a sport, dress it up in history, add the colonial touch, get a scheming and ego-centric board member to scene and then soothe it with a supportive manager who is flawed but honest, rope in an underdog and a smug character who fight with each other in a match where the underdog finally wins and then play the national anthem towards the end celebrating victory – if that is your conventional Bollywood sports movie, Gold is all of this and more. And definitely worth a watch.It will be inevitably compared to a Chak De and Lagaan. But Gold holds its own ground. Manju Ramanan reviews Gold.
The Reema Kagti film builds the sense of patriotism slowly. It doesn’t whitewash the central character played by Akshay Kumar who lives his blind passion of hockey by being manager of the National team and is emotionally strung to the game. Quite unlike Rockstar where Ranbir’s character churns out his best songs when his beloved is away and inactive at work when she is around, Akshay’s character is the right opposite. Whenever hockey doesn’t happen in his life, he is an alcoholic, a loser even a cheat. His purpose of living goes on a downward spiral without the game. And when hockey is part of his life, he is consumed by the passion of the game and he is constantly thinking of ways it can reinstate India s mark on the world. Akshay narrates a large part of the story in a Bengali accent that he attempts. To me, in this film , he seemed unafraid to show raw emotion. His co star in his wife’s role played by Mouni Roy uses her advantage of being Bengali and delivers a dramatic performance who doesn’t mind thrashing her husband if he is foundering. Amit Sadh who has a meaty role adds the royal touch to the film with the character he plays as well as his performance.
The film places hockey against the backdrop of history that includes Adolf Hitler, World War 2, Nazi Germany, Indian independence, the partition of India and the formation of Pakistan, the fear among minorities like the Anglo Indians and the passion of a man who is keen on free India to win the Olympics Gold in hockey in London. Between the game and history, there are some beautiful scenes the film explores – a Sikh and a Hindu defend a Muslim whose house in razed to the ground post the communal riots and the partition of India. The proverbial hatred between India and Pakistan melts in a few fine moments towards the end of the film.
The costume and set design is spot on – sometimes a bit too perfect and bordering towards being caricaturish.
Gold above everything celebrates team spirit, sportsmanship and the need for unity to fight a common rival.
Here’s a nugget I loved.
If you recollect the rain in Lagaan that adds to the celebration, the rain shown in Gold adds a dramatic and endearing twist to the story. Go figure out why and how! And write to us in comments!