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Bollywood gifts celestial status to India’s sport triumphs: “Chak De India”, women’s hockey; “Lagaan”, cricket, “Iqbal”, cricket; “Bhagg Milkha Bhagg”, running; director Reema Kagti’s “Gold” effortlessly, smoothly claims its fate with the icons; more than an historical regaling of India’s Olympic exultations in field hockey, under British rule, the film invigoratingly, pungently follows its birth on the world’s stage as an independent country; addressing the tribulations on the field and the vicissitudes leading to their monumental conquests; commencing at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, a twelve year hiatus because of the war; 1947 partition, its bedlam and destructiveness leading to fractured loyalties amongst the players; polemically “Gold” ranks in all arenas: sportsmanship, politics, and penetrating, powerful acting.


Akshay Kumar, soars in a role of a lifetime (it took “Airlift” and “Rustom” to convert me) as Tapan Das, the perpetually inebriated, coach/manager of India’s Field Hockey Team; there’s an unfathomable gulch of love for his country and the game it excels, stupefies at; Kumar’s seasoned career served as a training ground for this defining performance; mesmerizing are his scenes, inspiring his players to work, trust and compete as a team; brilliantly handling the primo uono, Prince Raghubir Pratap Singh (Amit Sada), talented but insecure, Samrat (Kunal Kapoor); it is with his wife, Monobina (erstwhile debut of TV actress Mouni Roy) where the wealth of his aptitudes come to the fore; he cunningly cajoles, sways to her demands, never sacrificing his own; here is a partnership steeped in prevarication, pandemonium, pathos, passion and their two dance sequences fulfill Bollywood’s insatiable appetite for music and movement.


“Gold” scores at the platinum level.





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