Taking you down the memory lane and hitting you with doses of nostalgia, director Kabir Khan leaves no stone unturned to make this one a sure shot blockbuster
1983 holds a very special place in the history of India. Not just cricket. Not just sport. But as a unified country and the sentiment of it. A place that deserves due attention and respect every time it is mentioned. 83 in every scene is an ode to the time, to the “religious” sport in our country, and the feeling of what you call ‘being Indian’. This was the year Indian Cricket gloriously shone bright with Kapil Dev and his boys lifting the World Cup, emerging victorious from being a nobody.
Watch the trailer here:
The film revolves around Indian Men’s Cricket Team’s triumphant victory in the 1983 World Cup.
The film, based on true events, the story is written by Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan and Kabir Khan. The screenplay is penned by Chauhan and Vasan Bala. And what splendid writing it is! The film is 162mins long, but doesn’t seem lagged even for a second. The story begins with Kapil Dev’s iconic back-run catch of Viv Richards in the final match. Cut to the beginning of the World Cup when Team India is struggling to step for the big run. West Indies, straight from winning two consecutive world cups are already superstars. And India on the other hand are someone who don’t have faith on themselves. Slow and steady, they win the race. It’s a known thing. Still, the film keeps you on the edge of the seats and that’s precisely the reason why this screenplay is a winner.
The good part of the story remains that it doesn’t delve into before the tournament scenario. It doesn’t waste any time and devotes everything for the tournament. Rightly so. The tournament itself was so full of ups and downs that nothing before that could be more important. The conflicts, the solutions to them, the resolutions and tackling the problems call for a meaty drama. If you thought this is only about cricket, think again. The personal lives of cricketers, their habits and traits individually, the superstition to keep a red handkerchief in the right back pocket, Kapil Dev’s hilarious English, the sentiment of patriotism, failure and keeping your ground steady- are all that also make the drama interesting. The script isn’t straight and is laced with many layers for you to uncover as they are served before you.
It is also intelligent of the makers to include the real footage in between the film scenes. Just when one real footage comes, you jump with excitement and then back to immersing in the film. The team in the tournament rises then falls, then again starts to rise, Dilip Vengsarkar getting injured by the hands of West Indies bowler, some upset for Roger Binny, Balwinder and his tears for his personal life going out of hands- and in between all this, Kapil Dev and his rise to prominence, for all the right reasons.
Also, this film is not only about Ranveer Singh or for that matter Kapil Dev. The film is about all the players individually and the script makes sure to pay tribute to every player that was on board the team. You see glimpses of all the players, their say, their role in the team and how they contribute within the team. The narrative brings for you the camaraderie that the players evidently shared in and out of the dressing room. What is also good is the retro feel to the treatment of matches (which by the way are many). They are all treated in the same way as the real matches, with some iconic shots replicated. It is also interesting how some people will recall Kapil Dev’s innings of 175 runs or Mohinder Amarnath’s Man of the Match. You have real Mohinder Amarnath playing Lala Amarnath, Kapil Dev catching a ball in the stands or the little Sachin Tendulkar deciding to play for India one day. A walk down the memory lanes.
One thing that remains about the nature of the film that it will mostly be enjoyed by two sections of audience- one that is fond of cricket irrespective of time and era, and the others who have witnessed this iconic moment and have seen all these players play. The people of today won’t be able to relate to the charm, hence won’t absorb the film in its fervour. But ofcourse, that doesn’t mean the film should have been made some different way.
Ranveer Singh as Kapil Dev rules the film. He not only looks like him, but also behaves just like the man. He is so good to watch on screen that you forget he is Ranveer. After a point, you only see Kapil Dev in him. Once again, a master performance by the man.
Deepika Padukone in a small role as Kapil Dev’s wife is sincere in the role. She is supportive and brings confidence in the drama.
Pankaj Tripathi as P R Man Singh is also impactful. He lends support and humour in the film, in the right proportion and you definitely like watching him on screen. His presence says a lot about the dynamics of the film.
Tahir Raj Bhasin as Sunil Gavaskar is impressive. He makes sure you like him. Ammy Virk as Balwinder Singh Sandhu is simply amazing. You wish he was more in the film. He has been given both emotional and funny scenes and he makes his mark in both. Chirag Patil has an uncanny resemblance with Sandeep Patil, which works for his advantage. Rightly so, he is the son of the former cricketer. Couldn’t get better.
Addinath Kothare as Dilip Vengsarkar also has moments to shine as an actor. Sahil Khattar as Syed Kirmani has been given some important funny scenes and he takes complete advantage of those. Jiiva as K Srikkanth is supremely amazing. He has so much to offer in terms of performance and he never falters. You like him so much that you wish there should be one independent film dedicated to Srikkanth where Jiiva plays the role.
Harrdy Sandhu as Madan Lal is also very good and shines remarkably in the scenes which he is in. The scene where he pleads Kapil Dev to let him bowl to Richards in the final match is very impressive. Nishant Dahiya as Roger Binny also makes you fall for him. He has his defining moments in the film and with his personality, he also matches the real man. Saqib Salim as Mohinder Amarnath has been given a well etched role and his presence makes the drama all the way more engaging.
Jatin Sarna as Yashpal Sharma is brilliant. Yashpal Sharma is no more. Had he been alive, he would have been really happy to see how his role has been written and eventually justified by Sarna. Dinkar Sharma as Kirti Azad has a smaller role but he also makes his presence felt. Same goes for Dhairya Karwa who plays Ravi Shastri. Good performance.
A moment of appreciation for the casting team for effort for casting just the right people in the role of veteran cricketers, not just from the Indian side but also the players from West Indies. Gordon Greenidge, Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts- the actors resemble them very rightly.
The songs by Pritam are just extraordinary. There are a couple of motivational and heart wrenching songs, which when appear take the film to an all new high. Had it not been for the right placement of right song, the appeal of the film would be a little less. The score by Julius Packiam also is so highly inspirational that the film gets its true meaning majorly through the score.
Cinematography by Aseem Mishra is also top notch. The matches have been shown to be interesting to the level of them being nail biting. You laugh, get sad, and wish to stay in that nervous tension as if you are watching a live match. The action has been shown to be real with just the right amount of drama around crucial points. The production design by Kevin Mones and Paul Rowan mainly deals with how you see the match and the green stadium, with places surrounding it like the parking or the stands or the dressing rooms. They have been made to look real and exquisite as per the standards of London of 1983.
Editing by Nitin Baid should be commended to no bounds. The film is also what it is, majorly because it has been crisp and extremely sharp. You don’t get bored. There is absolutely no dull moment. The graph and structure of the film is maintained in a balanced proportion giving you proper feel of a high tension match.
It is a must watch film. Made on a special incident, it has been made with all sensibilities in place. A sure shot blockbuster, this one will win hearts, for sure.