‘Gold’ review: Kagti intends to touch all patriotic and nationalistic trigger points possible

Direction: Reema Kagti

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Kunal Kapoor, Mauni Roy, Vineet Singh, Amit Sadh, Sunny Kaushal

Stars: ***

Gold is a story supposedly inspired by the historical win of the Indian team at the Olympics in London, in 1948, a year after the country got free from the British rule. The win was special as it was for the first time that the country was not referred to as British India and the players found special pride in showing the world that they can win the game even as an independent country.

Tapan Das (Akshay Kumar) is the unlikeliest manager for the Indian team. The Bengali man loved drinking, but more than that found his passion and pride in getting the gold back for the independent India. The movie takes us back to 1936 when the Indian team under British rule won the gold in the hockey match under the captaincy of Samrat (Kunal Kapoor). Though Das is the manager of the team even then, he’s not happy with the fact that the British flag is flying instead of Indian. When Das notices an opportunity again to be part of the Indian team going for Olympics, he somehow manages to get into it. It is now his responsibility to get a team worth gold together and he takes it as a challenge in spite of the adversities.

All sports movies follow a graph, struggle, more struggle, defeat and finally the victory. Gold is no different. While director Reema Kagti has managed to create India of the 40s with minutest details, she falters in other departments. The historical chapter in Indian hockey world has been mauled and manipulated to such extent that it ends up being more melodrama and less sport.

The story and screenplay (Reema Kagti and Rajesh Devraj) seems to have been written with a clear intention of touching all the patriotic and nationalistic trigger points possible. The film gets self indulgent after a point and goes on for too long at almost three hours duration. Javed Akhtar’s dialogues are effective in places, but there are too many of them and the film ends up being too verbose, with everything being oversimplified as if catering to a bunch of kindergarten kids. Subtlety is definitely not the strong point of this film.

Dhoti clad Akshay Kumar does a good job, as he has sincerely tried getting into the skin of Das, a crazy, passionate Bengali. Akshay is well supported by other actors in the film, Kunal Kapoor, Vineet Singh, Amit Sadh and newcomer Sunny Kaushal. Kaushal particularly shines as he gives a restrained and emotional performance and his character Himmat Singh is endearing.

The women in the film are more or less for ornamental purposes. Mauni Roy, the television actress who makes her Bollywood debut with this film, more annoys than impresses. Her character is also uni dimensional, thus giving her not much scope to perform.  One expected better from Kagti, who had earlier given us the power packed Aamir Khan starrer Talaash.

The second half of the film, especially the climax keeps you more involved than the first half. Watch it if you love sports drama and Akshay Kumar.