The trailer of Reema Kagti’s big Independence Day sports film finds Bollywood’s Akshay Kumar doing what he likes best: pitching for country and flag. There is a loud jingoistic feel to the trailer, as though the director has let all systems go into creating a feverish pitch as hockey takes centre stage once again.
Let me say at the outset that Gold looks nothing like Shimit Amin’s hockey film Chak De! India. The two films are as dissimilar as Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar. Akshay, with a Bengali accent that Uttam Kumar would have envied, plays the captain of India’s first post-Independence hockey team and he wants nothing less than the Gold from the Olympics.
“The King will watch as we take away the gold,” he dreamily announces to Vineet Mishra (the actor who was last seen trying to become a boxer in Mukkabaaz), who is reluctant to join the team. Aren’t they all?
The team, if you must know, looks dependable and appealing, what with Kunal Kapoor philosophising how in life as in hockey, you sometimes just need to let the ball go.
Not this time, buddy. Reema Kagti’s Gold has ‘winner’ written on every frame. The trailer screams for attention as patriotic sounds merge into visuals of the furling-unfurling flag. It’s all done in the spirit of a gamely night of nationalistic fervour, filled with sounds and visuals that are meant to suck us into its seductive nationalism.
It works most of the way. Mouni Roy, the very beautiful television actress, is seen as Akshay’s bullying wife who literally pushes aside his Olympian dreams and later is seen praying for her husband’s victory. Akshay loves to be bullied by his screen wives (see Jolly LLB 2, Toilet – Ek Prem Katha and Pad Man). Mouni seems to wear the pants in this relationship too. Akshay happily lets her.
Gold has a warm rugged feel to it, as though the spirit of nostalgia and sportsmanship that rule the theme are pre-conditions for a sincere film on winning against all odds. The ‘formula’ cannot stop working as long as the filmmaker uses it to tell an inspiring story. Gold will hit pay-dirt.