Bollywood and Indian liberals can both be characterized by their stunning lack of talent and mediocrity. The only thing that they are good at is in slavishly copying western ideas, themes and frameworks. “Gold” is a phenomenal example of the kind of output that these groups are capable of. The filmmakers form a subset of both the groups, so one can imagine the level of suck that we’re going to be exposed to.
I can at least respect certain western liberal filmmakers, as their propaganda is subtle and has to be teased out. Alas, our filmmakers aren’t as capable. What you get with “Gold” is more than two hours of clichéd storylines and over the top propaganda that’s as subtle as a hammer and sickle hitting your face.
The story as such is just a clichéd sports drama with the usual “problem-solution-unforeseen setbacks-final lap-victory” tripe that characterizes most films of this nature, so I’m not going to get into that. I’ll, however, deconstruct the propaganda that has been woven in the film.
The film is loosely inspired by real events, and the filmmakers have taken liberties with what actually happened. This is true of all historical films the world over, as reality usually doesn’t make for good drama and needs to be spiced up. In this case, however, the entire masala carton has been thrown in.
On with the show
One of the hockey players is Sikh. That was the case in real life as well.
The team’s manager was a Bengali called A.C Chatterjee. This is presumably the person on whom Akshay Kumar’s Tapan Das character is based.
Muslim players, who were supposed to take part in the Olympics as a part of the United Indian team, migrated to Pakistan on its creation.
Apart from these facts, everything has been twisted and distorted to fit into Bollywood’s liberal propaganda.
Allow me now to get down to the brass tacks.
According to the film, the pre-partition team that was supposed to take part in the Olympics was led by a Muslim captain, Imtiaz Ali. Tapan and Imtiaz happen to be in Punjab when the partition riots break out. And predictably, Hindus and Sikhs (though Sikhs are relegated to the background of the lynch mob) corner them and plan to kill Imtiaz. Tapan somehow saves him, and he escapes to the newly created Pakistan.
This is not a fact and is a case of creative liberty. The incident mentioned did happen, but the role was reversed. A Hindu player, Keshav Datt, escaped from angry Muslim lynch mobs in Lahore and reached India. He would eventually go on to participate in the 1948 Olympics as a part of the Indian hockey team and win gold.
There’s no mention of the trainloads of murdered Sikhs and Hindus that were dispatched from Pakistan. The movie almost seems to imply that the violence was one-sided.
Direct Action Day is another glaring omission, given the fact that large parts of the film is set in Bengal and showcase events leading up to the partition. Tapan is also Bengali, and it would have been logical to show the genocide that was visited on innocent Bengali Hindus, and which would have personally affected him.
There is a scene where a Muslim character from Uttar Pradesh is discussing partition and says that he won’t be moving to Pakistan as his home is in UP and he has nothing to do with Pakistan, and nor does he have any desire to move there. Now, this might be true and of course, there would have been individuals wanting to stay back for a variety of reasons, but it’s a fact that an overwhelming proportion of Muslims across India voted for the Muslim League and partition. And indeed, the initial seed for the idea of Pakistan came from Aligarh, UP, so the filmmaker’s idea of showing that all who stayed back, did so for patriotic reasons falls flat on its face.
Partition is passed off as an evil plot by the uber-evil British. This is the age-old line repeated by the Congress and liberals, that Indian was partitioned because of England’s divide and rule policy, and not at all because Muslims wanted a separate state for themselves.
The model minority
A pet theme of liberals is that all minorities are automatically good, and the majority, evil, or at best, misguided. They don’t see individuals who can be good or bad, but rather groups that can be slotted into a particular niche. This is how liberals play identity politics to further their goals.
The filmmaker carries on along these lines.
The person who believes and trusts in Tapan, even after he disappoints him numerous times, is Mr Wadia, a Parsi individual. He has a heart of gold and showers him with chances and money. There is even a cringe scene in the film where Tapan exclaims something along the lines of “he’s a fine Parsi gentleman”. This is so that the director can establish that the character is Parsi, just in case anyone missed it.
The majority community is primarily represented by the characters Devang Chaturvedi (captain) and Raghubir Singh (VC). They belong to the Brahmin and Kshatriya castes, and according to liberals and Bollywood, need to be upper caste oppressors. Raghubir Singh is shown to be a great player but prefers to play by himself and doesn’t believe in team spirit. He prefers to take the puck down the length of the field and score by himself, rather than passing. This is supposed to be a metaphor for how the upper castes/Hindus have apparently dominated life in India, and haven’t shared with the minorities. The captain and VC are also shown as the reason why the Sikh player doesn’t get a chance to play till late in the finals. The reason is a breach of discipline, but the subtle insinuation is that minorities are being kept down.
The Sikh player is portrayed in a very sympathetic manner even though he had breached discipline and that’s why his captain was not letting him play.
The character of Tapan, though supposedly based on an actual person, is modelled around what the liberal’s idea of a good Hindu is – an upper caste Bengali, who’s not in touch with his Hindu roots. Tapan is socially liberal and travels around India uniting different factions into one team. In short, a liberal wet dream.
The piece de resistance of this film is the character, Mehta. This person doesn’t exist and was created especially for this film. This reviewer from the liberal portal, Quint, couldn’t figure out why this character was in the film or needed. But we know, don’t we?
Mehta is the scheming Bania, presumably Gujarati, who’s forever jealous of Tapan, and wants to pull him down. He’s depicted as constantly being negative, worrying only about money, and bowing down to the Englishmen. A person that is trying to divide the team based on state-wise representation, religion etc. He’s called out for all this in the movie by the protagonist in similar terms.
Does he remind you of anyone else, dear reader?
He might perhaps remind you of another person who’s known only by a mononym. A person whose surname also starts with “M”, and who according to the liberals, is trying to divide the country into religious lines, and is the reason for absolutely everything that’s wrong with India.
Mehta is depicted as a short, fat, dark and physically unattractive man. This is to subtly condition the audience to absolutely hate him. He comes across as both physically and mentally unattractive. It’s ironic that liberals who always whine about stereotypes have stereotyped short and dark men as repulsive and hideous.
And the most laughable of all, the film shows Pakistanis as wanting India to win and cheering for India during the finals. All the Pakistanis, be they in the audience or the team (defeated in the semi-finals), cheer for India in the finals. If absolutely all Pakistanis loved India so much, then one wonders why partition was necessary in the first place.
This just feeds into the Liberal and Bollywood narrative that Pakistanis want peace with India and love us. It’s just the generals and politicians who are not letting them be friendly to their neighbour.
The way forward
One can watch this film to marvel at the imaginary utopia that liberals live in and how they are so utterly divorced from reality. This also serves as a reminder that liberals and Bollywood suck at anything original, including propaganda.
Liberals need to understand that it’s only by acknowledging reality and the past that India as a whole can heal, grow together and move forward as one and brushing issues under the carpet helps no one.