Sabyasachi Bagchi: Bollywood Superstar Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Gold’ is all set to release all over the country on the occasion of 72nd Independence Day. But just before the release, the movie has come under serious criticism! Before independence, India bagged gold in 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics as “British India”. Independent India won the gold for the first time in the 1948 London Olympics. The Late Kishan Lal, Balbir Singh Sr., Late Leslie Claudius, Keshab Dutta routed England and took the Gold by thumping them by a 4-0 scoreline in their home ground. The main architect of that historic win was the coach of the team. But Bollywood decided to “ignore” the very coach from their movie, which has sparked immense controversy surrounding the movie.
But what’s the main reason of the fuss going around? Akshay Kumar’s name is ‘Tapan Das’ in the film, who is the supposed coach of the team. Although the country broke free from the shackles of the British and gained independence, still the majority of the Indians of that particular era had great lack of fierce mentality. A certain ‘Tapan Das’ was the main inspiration for the players, which eventually led India to clinch Gold. But it is good to inform the readers that there is no existence of any person named Tapan Das in the history of Indian hockey. The real name of the team’s coach is ‘Habul Mukherjee’. Who was also known as ‘N N Mukherjee’ among the Indian hockey contingent. It’s because of him India won the only gold at the 48′ Olympics in the field hockey event back then. At the same time, his married life and his obsessive drinking was shown repeatedly in the film. His bad temperament is highlighted in different parts of the movie. As a result a debate broke over the issue. Because, according to Mukherjee’s admirers, he dedicated his entire life to hockey and did not even get married to anyone and strictly avoided alcohol. However, Bollywood has once again distorted history, even after repeated vandalism and violence caused by the audience in theaters as a protest to past movies.
And naturally two players of that team Balbir Singh Sr. and Keshab Dutta cannot accept Bollywood’s so-called “work of art”. Along with them, a former “student” of the Olympic winning coach Ram Avatar Mishra has slammed the film’s director, Rima Kagti. Even son of legendary Dhyan Chand, Ashok Kumar, was overall very much distraught with the matter. Balbir Singh Sr, 95 currently lives in Chandigarh. Talking exclusively to XtraTime he said, “There will not be any other visionary coach like Habul Mukherjee, in the history of Indian hockey, even though we scored goals to win the match, but the main architect was him. He taught us how to tackle and fight against the foreign countries in that era. . ” It has been heard that Balbir Singh will be seen in majority portion of the movie. He knew his coach ‘Habul Mukherjee’ very well. So why did not he give the film unit the original side of the coach? In response to that he said, “I have highlighted everything from my side, his achievement-his success – but at the end of the day, they decided to mold in their own way, So I had nothing to do here.” Keshab Dutta currently residing in Kolkata, recollects from his finite memory of the glory days. Not only the 1948 Olympics, the hero of the 1952 Helsinki Olympics could not seem to recollect majority of the events. Still, with a little emphasis on his memory, he said, “The country won gold at three Olympics due to his coaching, but his name is not even used in the movie! It is a great insult to all of us.”
Hockey legend Major Dhanchand mentioned Habul Mukherjee in a part of his autobiography ‘The Goal’. He wrote, “Though he was a Bengali, he lived in Lalbagh area of Lucknow. Besides his job, he had a passion for hockey, with great patriotism. So when the country was still under British rule , he used to play hockey wearing a dhoti and a fatwa against the English. Dhayn Chand’s son Ashok Kumar said, “Habul uncle used to come to our house. He used to share a wonderful relationship with my father and later when I got a chance to play in the Indian team, he was the president of the Uttar Pradesh Hockey Association,. I never heard Habul uncle had a fondness for drinking. In spite of everything, life story of a person like him is insulted. What more shameful can be!”
However, the most disturbed ‘student’ of Habul Mukherjee, Ram Avatar Mishra 85, exploded over the telephone, “Habul Mukherjee died in 1969. Although a movie is made on him after a long time, I am not all happy because the person who did not taste a single drop of wine in his life, was shown to be a drunkard. He did not even get married because of hockey. This was all done to add spice to the film. The country won 3 gold under his coaching in the 1948, 1952 and 1964 Olympics. No coach has done wonders like him. And as a result, his name will not be used in the movie! It’s very unfortunate. ”
It has been informed from reliable sources that his house in the Lalbagh area no longer exists. Promoters have been occupied his house. There is no survivor of his family to protest. That’s why Bollywood got the opportunity to earn millions of crores by showing his success. None of the directors and actors can touch his stature.
Akshay Kumar and his character ‘Tapan Das’ will get the opportunity to cement his place. And the ‘Hero’ like ‘Habul Mukherjee’ will go forgotten. But if he did not exist this ‘Gold’ movie would not have been made.