83: Expectations Have Come True

Directed by Kabir Khan, starring Ranveer Singh as Kapil Dev, it is bound to be talked about for a long long time. Other prominent cast includes Saqib Saleem as Mohinder Amarnath, Tahir Raj Bhasin as Sunil Gavaskar, Jatin Sarna as the late Yashapal Sharma, Tamil actor Jiva as Krishnamachari Srikanth and Pankaj Tripati as tour manger Man Singh among others. There is also Deepika Padukone who shows up as Kapil Dev’s wife Romi. The victory of 83 was not just about winning the world cup,  it wasmuch more than that. It was about respect and being taken seriously by the cricketing world. There is a dialogue in the film where Pankaj Tripati’s character says that India has won freedom but is still far from gaining respect. 83 world cup win did exactly that. Except for Kapil Dev no one thought that India would go the distance that it did. There were constant humiliations and many obstacles but one man’s desire transformed the entire team.

Not an easy film to make

It is not an easy film to make as a director for two reasons. One, you should be able to transport the audiences back to that era and two, you need to make sure that today’s generation connects with the journey of the then cricket team. Kabir Khan more than lives up to the expectations, he makes a rousing drama with the right dose of lightness and also some moving emotional scenes. The biggest success of Kabir Khan lies in the fact that he never reduces it to a one man show. Yes, Ranveer Singh is the heart of the film but all the cast members have their moments at different junctures of the film. A good example of that is the scene featuring Jiva. He delivers a moving monologue where he praises his captain in front of a British journalist much to the surprise of Kapil himself. It is something that you don’t see coming. Like this there are many scenes at different points in the film. Much like Bajirangi Bhaijaan here also Kabir Khan explores the idea of love triumphing over hate. Here the medium is cricket. This can be seen in the scene where all villagers along with police watch the final match together in an atmosphere of communal tension.

Recreation of action-packed event

The story of 83 is basically a recreation of what transpired between 1st march and June 25th. Director Kabir Khan along with writers Sumit Arora and Vasan Bala take us through the highs and the lows of this incredible real life story. We see India starting off with a bang as they beat West Indies and Zimbabwe but they start faltering in the next couple of games. A point comes where they are completely down and out. At this stage you have the famous innings of Kapil Dev. His score of 175 gave a huge boost to the team, it gave them the self-confidence that they can go far in the world cup. From that point a new Indian cricket team emerges.

Aseem Mishra, one of the strong points

One of the big strengths of 83 is the cinematography of Aseem Mishra. Through his camera lens Aseem Mishra successfully captures the tension of the matches. His cinematography particularly shines in the scenes involving the aggressive bowling of West Indies. The slow motion camera shots are wonderfully done.

Another striking aspect of 83 is the way Kabir Khan maintains the tempo of the film. He makes sure that you are constantly involved till the last minute. As viewers we know that India has won the 83 world cup but that doesn’t stop you from cheering out loud when that moment comes. A major reason for that is Kabir Khan’s direction.

Emotional moments

83 has plenty of moments that are both humorous and also highly emotional. There are lot of fun moments involving the characters of Yashpal Sharma, Krishnamachari Srikanth, Balwinder Sandhu and Man Singh. At the same time the emotional scenes also pack a solid punch. Apart from Jiva’s monologue my other favorite emotional scene is the one involving real Lala Amarnath and his on screen son Mohinder Amarnath. There is a telephonic conversation where Lala Amarnath says to his on screen son that he has made him younger by ten years. What follows will create a lump in your throat. Additionally there is also the footage of the real life players which is smartly used by Kabir Khan.

The music by Pritam is more functional but it still works in the context of the film. The song Lehra Do in particular gives goosebumps.

Cast made the difference

The cast put together by Kabir Khan takes the film to another level. Over the years, Ranveer has shown that he can transform into any character. With his performance as Kapil Dev he shows that he has reached another level. He manages to capture the attitude of Kapil Dev perfectly along with the physical aspect. There is a scene in the press conference where Kapil Dev says that we are here to win, the way Ranveer says it is a perfect example of how he has imbibed the spirit of Kapil Dev. His acting in the emotional scenes also deserves full marks. In short, he deserves all the best actor awards for next year. Pankaj Tripati is also hugely impressive in his role of Man Singh. He and Ranveer share some of the best moments in the film. Among the rest my favorites are Saqib Saleem, Jiva, Jatin Sarna and Tahir Raj Bhasin.

Deepika Padukone has a small role but she is efficient in what she does. It is also a case of clever casting as you already have a shared camaraderie off screen.

In the final tally 83 is a roll coaster of emotions. Yes, it is manipulative but you don’t complain as Kabir Khan gives you plenty of moments to savor. It is the perfect big ticket entertainer to end the year.

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