By FATIMA PATEL

My expectations from Gold were high from day one, firstly because it’s an Akshay Kumar and Excel collaboration and both have a fabulous track record of some amazing movies.

Secondly, the vast majority of the film was filmed in my hometown of Bradford.

As the film opened I was immediately engaged as the very first few scenes were instantly recognisable and in fact only yards away from our Asian Style Mag office.

Gold is set against the backdrop of 1936 Berlin Olympics and narrates the story of an all-India hockey team winning India’s first gold medal as an independent nation.

Tapan Das played by Akshay Kumar has the job to put together the first Indian hockey team to play in the London Olympics.

Akshay is fabulous in his role as the often drunken but proud and patriotic Indian hockey team manager. I was completely invested in Tapan throughout the film, and even left the theatre thinking of Tapan, rather than the superstar Akshay Kumar. Just shows the growth of this fine actor.

All the characters in the film are very well sketched out giving everyone ample scope to perform and the entire ensemble cast do deliver. From Kunal Kapoor who plays the role of a senior hockey player admired by all to the aristocratic, arrogant, yet likable Raghubir Pratap Singh played by Amit Sadh. The ones making a surprising impact though are Vineet Singh and Sunny Kaushal as Imtiaz and Himmat respectively.

Vineet particularly impressed me in the scene where he is almost burned alive and has to leave his home India to make his home in Pakistan. The scene was delivered very well and wasn’t over dramatized. The other surprise is the beautiful and amazing Monobina, played by Mouni Roy. You wouldn’t believe it’s her first feature film and matching steps with her lead hero, Akshay is no easy feat, but Mouni proves her capability and is delightful as the wife of her embarrassing yet loveable drunken husband. I am looking forward to seeing more of her on the big screen.

For me however the real super star of the film is the Director Reema Kagti.

Kagti along with writer Rajesh Devraj, have brought forward a refreshing story. Filming a sports film is no easy task and to add to that the back drop of the 1930’s/1940’s one has to give full credit to the screenplay, the costume designers and I have to say the locations (even though it may seem a little biased as most are my home town) which are captured superbly by cinematographer Alvaro Gutierrez.

Overall despite finding the pace of the story fairly slow, there are many amazing scenes that make Gold a well-made film. For example, Vineet’s scene that I mentioned.

Then there’s a great few scenes when Samrat, (Kapoor) takes over as coach of the Indian hockey team. How he teaches the team a lesson on unity is nice to watch. Also, the unity between India and Pakistan in their joint mission to avenge their slavery from the British has been captured well as this is not good versus evil or divisive, but a bit like how everyone was rooting for Jamaica in Cool Runnings regardless of which country you belong to.

The climax is particularly worth waiting for and is note-worthy of the brilliance of Kagti’s direction. We know that team India will win, but the emotions that draw you in have been captured exceptionally well. The unity between all nations is fabulous and a timely reminder of today’s world.

For me Gold is truly golden. Go watch it!

4/5 stars

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