Thursday, June 13, 2024

Bollywood’s Akshay Kumar gives Gold to hockey film on India’s 1948 Olympic win

By Richard Bright

Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar is the starring role in Gold, a film portraying the story of India’s men’s hockey team which won its first gold after partition and slated for an Independence Day release on August 15.

India beat Great Britain 4-0 at Wembley at the 1948 Olympics, during a golden period for the team which saw them win golds between 1928 and 1956, three of those as a free nation from 1948.

However, according to Indian media reports, Kumar, 50, is involved in another highly-anticipated film, 2.0, which has also been pushed back to an August 15 release, the same date which will mark the 70th anniversary of Gold.

The film was shot on location at the Odsal Stadium, home of the Bradford Bulls rugby league team in the UK, which replicates Wembley Stadium.

Bootham Crescent in York was also used, doubling as the Olympic stadium in Berlin and had Nazi flags hung over the stadium terraces for filming.

Hundreds of local extras were used for the big budget movie, with tailors travelling over from India for fittings to replicate the 1940s clothing.

The film is a fictional but true story set between 1933 and 1948 as India prepared for the first Olympiad after the Second World War. Kumar plays a hockey coach trying to inspire his squad.

Following gold, defeated GB captain Norman Borrett said: “I did not think they were going to have such a victory on ground so unsuited to their play. But tonight showed how magnificent they are under any condition.”

The last big budget film about hockey made to critical acclaim was Chak De! India in 2007. Gold has received acclaim from pre-screening audiences.

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