After an impactful performance in Padman that led a wave of change in India, Akshay Kumar is back with Reema Kagti’s Gold—a film that delves into the history of Indian hockey.
It’s the story of the first hockey team of independent India, which won gold at the Olympics against the British in 1948.
Slated for August 15 release, the film has an ensemble cast with television actor Mouni Roy playing the lead, and actors Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh, Vineet Kumar Singh and Sunny Kaushal in important roles.
Akshay says every Indian should watch this film because not many know about this milestone attained by our country. Kunal, who was last seen in Raagdesh, will essay the role of hockey team coach in the film. Both Akshay and Kunal believe that these stories need to be told rather than just being mentioned in school history books. Akshay says, “Even I didn’t know about these stories. India was mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The idea is to make India a brand. And we can do that through films.” Gold is the second film based on hockey after Soorma this year. About his character, Kunal says, “I play coach Samrat, whose dream is to win gold for the country as a free nation. The character is so passionate and wants a new generation who can win the gold.” In 1936, when British India won the gold, the British flag was hoisted and “Long live the king” song was played and Indian players had to salute. “But the match we played as a free nation in 1948 is worth mentioning.
The finals were India vs England, and we won. We were their slaves for 200 years and it was a match between slaves and masters and it was a huge victory. I was shocked that none of us knew this story and that’s really sad,” says Akshay. Sharing his excitement about the film, Kunal says, “I feel connected to the era of 20s, 30s, and 40s. And I have never played the game or caught a hockey stick in my hand, so it was a challenging role for me. But what is interesting is that I learnt the game. That’s the advantage you have as an actor; you get to learn new things.
It’s a difficult sport and my respect for the players has increased a lot now. Indian National Coach Micheal Nobbs and player Sandeep Singh trained us in the game.” Interestingly, Akshay neither plays the coach nor a player in the film. “I play Tapan Das, an alcoholic manager in the movie. My character is a Bengali man, who cheats in the movie. During the film, I realised that Bengalis are obsessive people. They will not stop till they achieve what they want.
I worked in Kolkata for two years and that experience helped me get into the skin of the character,” says Akshay. Both the actors, who worked with Reema Kagti for the first time, share same thoughts on having her as their director. Akshay says, “She’s a fantastic director. She was the one who did all the research on the film.” Kunal agrees: “Reema has a great sense of humour and she is a straightforward person. Handling so many people on the sets is not easy but she did it well.” Mouni, who is debuting in Bollywood with the film, plays Akshay’s wife in the film.
While Kunal has not signed any film yet, it’s a busy year for Akhay with Anurag Singh’s Kesari and Sajid Khan’s Housefull 4 lined up for release this year. Kunal, however, has enough on his plate. “I am concentrating on writing currently. I am working on four scripts. One is an ensemble cast, which will be a comedy, one is a biopic and the other is based on a real incident. And the last film is a coming-of-age story of three boys,” he says.