Runtime: 2 hr 50 mins
Director: Reema Kagti
Writer: Rajesh Devraj
Dialogues: Javed Akhtar
Music: Arko Pravo Mukherjee, Sachin–Jigar, Tanishk Bagchi
Producer: Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani
Star Cast: Akshay Kumar, Mouni Roy, Vineet Kumar Singh, Nikita Dutta, Amit Sadh, Kunal Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar, Jatin Sarna
Gold is like that ship that sets its sails on an ambitious destination, with the promise of an entertaining voyage. The destination is the predictable exhilaration you feel when you see the tricolour flourish away in triumph as you hear some narrator’s voice dedicate some victory to the nation. We know, we know. A message of nationalism sells tickets (if that’s even remotely hard to believe, just look at the release date of the movie). A message of nationalism with Akshay “The Actor With Social Sentiment” Kumar’s face on it is sure to sell more tickets. And that may be the problem with Gold. A possibly great script with excellent potential and with Akshay Kumar’s stern face on it- does it need great execution to score? 1 hour into the movie and you do hear and see the answer to that, leaping and screaming from the cracks in that ship, that has now too many holes to reach what it set out for.
Tapan Das (Akshay Kumar) is a Bengali-babu with a slightly believable accent who… who loves hockey and booze. As the movie progresses, he ends up loving the former a little more as he wants to re-get the free nation of India, a gold in the Olympics (if you did not know this already, getting out of that rock may just help). Amidst colonization, communal riots, a mildly resistive team and some mandatory aufiss politics, he must steer the team to… well, gold. Raghubir Singh (Amit Sadh) and Kunal Kapoor (Kunal Kapoor) are polar opposites, who carry tremendous talent, but who must get their hot heads to work together to make sure that their team gets the big G (there are only so many ways to make that interesting).
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Screenplay and Direction
The screenplay and direction do the job of getting the scenes to pan out in some effortlessness. But the scenes are sometimes too languid or sluggish, which is where Akshay Kumar is expected to prance and dance away the woes of sloppy execution. If it gets sloppier, then you have a flag or disapproving Englishman thrust at your face because of desh bhakti triumphs all. There is nothing wrong (or automatically right) with nationalism being used to sell a movie. Chak De did that. Bhaag Milkha did that much later. But doing that effectively needs character development and work on the scenes. This is where Gold is found to be lacking well below the gold standard.
Performance and Dialogue
Akshay Kumar is not very believable as a Bengali Babu. One wonders if the movie would have turned out differently with an authentic Bengali actor. For instance, Mouni Roy (Tapan Das’s wife) slams through her scenes quite easily and her accent and mannerisms are very buyable. Not Akshay Kumar’s. Amit Sadh is decent as the well-fed and well-meaning but pompous Thakur. But the character development arc doesn’t do much for his character. Kunal Kapoor shines well as Himmat, the hot-headed Sardar, who is the team’s ace against the Brits. But again- almost no character development. The dialogues are stapled nationalism-packed inspiration-garnished semi-monologues, decently penned by The Senior Akhtar.
Huge, huge letdown from the music of the movie. Whoever sung Naino Ne Baandhi and Monobina did not leave a memorable mark in the mind. Only Sukhwinder was bearable with Raasta, but that’s towards the tag end of the movie. The background score is also short of mediocre, that you can sometimes ignore but at other times, it rises to the occasion to disappoint you doubly (the first disappointment is from the non-character development and sloppiness).
Gold is possibly a great film gone bronze. It misses too many easy marks and takes a lot for granted with the audience. For instance, there is a negative babu-istic character in the movie. Does he have a problem with Tapan? Does he hate India? Does he hate Sardars? Is a general troublemaker? The movie chooses to let us decide while his character continues being the bad guy. Akshay Kumar is sometimes trying and sometimes, the scenes are too sloppy for him to do anything. One brick picking exercise and a little pep-talk are somehow enough to bring together a diverse, possibly dysfunctional unit, well gelled and super awesome. Sorry, not believable. If you really want to watch something to spend your evening, that will fill you up with a bit of half-throttled tricolour backed exhilaration, do go for Gold. Else, you may want to give this a miss knowing that this Akshay Kumar flick is nothing like his last few ones.