Gold Movie Review - Yup, kinda sold on gold!

By Mayank Shekhar

Gold Movie Review: At the centre-forward position in this film, or actually standing at the periphery of the hockey field, is a Bengali team-manager, who mysteriously enough probably also doubles up as the coach.

Gold movie poster

Gold
U/A: Drama, History, Sport
Director: Reema Kagti
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Amit Sadh, Mouni Roy, Kunal Kapoor, Vineet Kumar Singh
Rating:

Whether you literally go for Gold (or not), as it were, you already know this is a sports film. Which means? One, it will be about the victory of the underdog; triumph of will. Two, since we're looking at hockey as an overall team sport, it would operate a little bit little like a group-heist picture—wherein a bunch of disparate folk get together to execute a common mission.

So, yeah, there is no escaping the usual tropes. This is a genre flick, after all. And, if you have seen a bunch of desi sports movies lately, since quite a few have been made (Soorma, on hockey itself, released only few weeks ago; Dangal is still on top of everyone's mind, besides several others since, and before), there is a predictive quality to this picture that you may have to ignore first.

Is that hard to do? Not really. For, along with a sports movie, Gold is also a compelling story of independent India's first Olympic hockey gold, earned in London, 1948, whilst still in the midst of all the rumbles of Partition, a tragedy that divided, if not wholly crippled, the Indian hockey team, as it did India. And yet there was the fresh whiff of patriotism, a moment of rare hope that freedom from colonial rule would inevitably shore up.

It serves therefore as much as an important, although lesser known, historical artifact as a thoroughly engaging sporting drama with all its necessary ingredients—namely infighting, warring egos, and sharp strategy (very much applicable to life—the ups and downs of which every sport manages to compress within its running time, anyway).

At the centre-forward position in this film, or actually standing at the periphery of the hockey field, is a Bengali team-manager, who mysteriously enough probably also doubles up as the coach, but is foremost the court-jester—determined to take his rag-team all the way to a historic win, against all perceivable odds; the opposing team being only one of them.

Watch the trailer of Gold:

One-man-industry Akshay Kumar plays this inspirational character, having delivered a period film on sport, only a few months since his film on periods (Padman)—continuing a dream-run with meaningful entertainers in theatres. Sticking to his sound economics, Gold doesn't seem to have incurred overblown expenses, at least in terms of recreating the Olympics, let alone the White Towns of British India, on the big screen.

But you don't mind that very much, since the director, Reema Kagti, after an ensemble drama/rom-com Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd (2007); quiet, supernatural thriller Talaash (2012)—seemingly on a turf outside her comfort zone—competently pulls off this picture with a supporting cast (Amit Sadh, Vineet Kumar Singh, and others) that could pass off for actual hockey professionals. Some of them probably are.

While recounting encounters from 1948, it's instructive, if not incredible, how this story on Indian sport remains just as relevant in 2018—looking chiefly at big victories being a result of private persistence, philanthropy, personal drive, rather than collective passion flowing from the top. This could be said about any recent, major Indian win, outside of cricket. As you can tell, we are kinda sold on Gold. Yup, you should be too.

Also read: Exclusive: Akshay Kumar on Gold: Real stories are content that drives me to make such films

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