In 1983, Kapil Dev did the unthinkable – lead India to its maiden World Cup title, a feat still remembered, celebrated, and credited for the country’s establishment in world cricket. 38 years later, we get a chance to re-live history through Bollywood director Kabir Khan’s cricket drama 83 starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Saqib Saleem, and Pankaj Tripathi.
Originally scheduled to release in April 2020, the Kabir Khan-directorial is finally in cinemas in the UAE, giving the audience a nostalgic smash right outside the park. The magic of the film grips the viewers, who, despite knowing the outcome of the film, stay thrilled in their seats, eagerly waiting for the umpire’s decision after the team’s LBW appeal against West Indies’ Michael Holding in the 1983 World Cup final.
As the umpire points upwards, the team is met with jubilant pitch invaders, and, in the cinema, with applause and whistles.
On June 18, 1983, the BBC was on strike, depriving us of the recordings for Kapil Dev’s greatest one-day innings – 175 not out against Zimbabwe in a do-and-die contest (pun intended). To quote Dev’s wife Romi Bhatia, played by Deepika Padukone in the film: “It is not every day that we see a world record.”
Years later, fans are finally able to watch the record-breaking innings of Dev in the form of Bajirao Mastani actor Ranveer Singh, thanks to Khan’s directorial and Singh’s top-notch performance.
That brings us to another talking point of 83 – Ranveer Singh as Kapil Dev.
Throughout the film, there was no sign of Singh, only Dev. Such was the brilliance of the actor whose performance in 83 is among his best. It was one of those times where it was not Ranveer Singh, but a ruthless warmonger, cue Padmaavat, or a talented rapper from the streets of Mumbai, cue Gully Boy. In 83, Singh’s way of talking is enough to remind us of the legendary Indian skipper.
Showcasing just how a complete team effort led India to its maiden World Cup title, a pleasing performance from the entire cast including Pankaj Tripathi, Saqib Saleem, Jiiva, Hardy Sandhu, and many others makes sure the trip to the cinema is a nostalgic affair.
Minus the presence of good music, it is safe to say that Kabir Khan’s 83 sits atop the throne with other splendid Bollywood sports dramas such as Chak De! India and Dangal. In cricket terms, Ranveer Singh plays the captain’s innings in an enthralling cinematic experience.
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Pankaj Tripathi
Director: Kabir Khan
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