Director of films like 2007’s Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd and 2013’s Talaash: The Answer Lies Within, Reema Kagti directed a film that we wouldn’t find in her conventional filmography. She ‘played’ director in Dibakar Banerjee’s short film in Bombay Talkies, where she was apparently making a film called Tashan 2: 100 crores. The name was a parody on Bollywood’s sudden fascination with ‘100 crore club’ after the likes of 3 Idiots and Ghajini, and it did draw a few laughs as Kagti kept yelling instructions in this film within a film.
However, one look at the Gold trailer and some might say that the joke has probably become a reality. After the modest success of Honeymoon Travels and the underwhelming reviews and box office for Aamir Khan’s Talaash – 2018’s Gold seems to be Kagti’s desperate drag flick into the 100-crore club.
The ingredients are all there – fervent nationalism, pride for the flag and the rashtrogaan (national anthem) and the bankability of Akshay Kumar. Why else would someone with the acting chops of Kumar be handed a role of a Bengali coach spouting hilarious lines like homara team bodla lega. Nope nope nope.
One can’t begrudge your ambition to make a 100-crore film, Miss Kagti. We all want to liked, watched by the maximum number of people and deliver a film that enables producers to write us a check, no questions asked. But some of your fans might have hoped for a little more grace in the way you went about your ‘sellout’ film. Playing into the hands of this seemingly populist and toxic sentiment that is today’s nationalism, and to get BJP’s own brand Bollywood ambassador, Akshay Kumar, to play a lead he cannot land – it’s slightly disappointing.
All my inferences from the trailer might be proved wrong after I see the final film. Maybe Gold is really not jingoistic and I might have to eat my own words, but then the probability of that would be equivalent to UPA standing any chance in the 2019 elections. It’s fantastic to see the ensemble around Kumar – Amit Sadh, Kunal Kapoor and Vineet Kumar Singh (once again relegated to a side role, in spite of Mukkabaaz). But I really wish these actors would star around an actor worth his salt, and not a propagandist-star like Akshay Kumar.
For those who still haven’t seen the trailer of Gold, watch it here:
The name of the film also seems like a perverse joke, about the director’s priorities and expectations around the film. Maybe it’s all about the money, honey!