Akshay Kumar, at his very best, is an average actor. When he was young, Action was his go-to stuff. With time, he perfected his comic timing and came up with capers such as ‘Herapheri’. Off late, he has crafted a socially conscious persona for himself, which he uses to impart voluntary messages to the masses. His recent films have either portrayed him as a patriotic army man, fighting for the country or a champion of social issues such as open defecation and awareness about sanitary napkins. His latest outing is about the first gold medal won by an independent India, in the 1948 London Olympics. Unfortunately, it’s also a vanity project for a star, who brings all his expertise together to spoil a rich content material and come up with a hotchpotch of a film.
Director Reema Kagti’s ‘Gold’ is a fictionalization of the events that led to India winning its only gold medal in the 1948 London Olympics. To think of it, for a generation coming to terms after a partition that left thousands dead and two countries, on each side of the Radcliff line, it was a huge moment. For some, it was a statement from a young country, to their former colonial masters. Reema Kagti and co-writer Rajesh Devraj massacre this premise and rewrite it, from the point of view of Tapan Das, a caricature of a drunk Bengali patriot manager of the Hockey team who often goes on a tangent, speaking in an atrocious accent, about ‘Hau Maach He Laavz Heez Contry’! His dream to see the tricolour flying at the Olympics, leads him to find a team, lose it due to partition and again gather a team to get his ultimate aim – A gold medal for the independent country.
The film has been designed to rake the patriotic fervour in the audience. The hockey sequences, the patriotic quotes are all there to rouse the audience. But the basic template of a Hockey team’s problems, their struggle to gel-in due to the differences in region, various in-fights is a straight lift from ‘Chak De India’. The writing becomes further weak in the second half and hinges on the able shoulders of Akshay Kumar, who knows his patriotism as well as the back of his hand. The film also suffers from ill-timed songs and has the lead actors break into a song, now and then. Just when the audience gets ready to be invested in the storyline, Akshay Kumar with Mouni Roy, the telly’s favourite shapeshifting snake woman, break into irritating conversations in a weird accent. We get that Akshay Kumar is a Punjabi, hence he gleefully murders words like Udibaba, Dugga Dugga but Mouni Roy, being a Bengali herself also ends up speaking in the same parlance. We’ve no idea, why!
But all is not bad. The film has its shining moments with all Hockey sequences, especially a group of players, playing as British India, refusing to salute Hitler in the 1936 Berlin Olympics gives goosebumps. The ensemble cast is effective with Kunal Kapoor, Vinit Kumar Singh, Amit Sadh playing their parts really well. But the ace in the pack, is Sunny Kaushal, the Sardar of the team. He is the best of the lot and enacts his part rather earnestly. His chemistry with his lady love, played by Nikita Dutta is much more believable than Akshay and Mouni’s Udibaba and Dugga Dugga. One wishes to see more from this actor.
Watch ‘Gold’, only if you have to. Otherwise, wait for its Amazon Prime release. For now, ‘Chak De India’ retains its numero uno position as the best sports film ever made on field Hockey.
The Cinemawala Rating: 2.5/5