Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone talk cricket, love and '83

The stars and director Kabir Khan were in Dubai to promote the film releasing this weekend.



Deepika and Ranveer with '83 director Kabir Khan in Dubai (Photos: Neeraj Murali)
Deepika and Ranveer with '83 director Kabir Khan in Dubai (Photos: Neeraj Murali)
by

Somya Mehta

Published: Sun 19 Dec 2021, 9:55 AM

Last updated: Wed 19 Jan 2022, 8:00 PM

There are two things most Indians around the world often find themselves obsessing over. One is cricket, the other is Bollywood. So, what happens when these two worlds collide? We get the movie ‘83.

For the die-hard cricket fans of this generation, to even for a blink-and-miss moment think of a time when the love for the sport didn’t run deep through the veins of the nation, is unfathomable. But 1983 was the year that changed the fate of Indian cricket and how it’s consumed, forever.

The team shouldering this enormous responsibility – of giving an entire generation of fans and non-fans alike – a chance to relive India’s tumultuous 1983 World Cup victory came down to Dubai on December 16, to introduce their larger-than-life spectacle.

We caught up with the star cast of ‘83 in Dubai. Bollywood’s beloved power couple Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh – alongside award-winning filmmaker Kabir Khan, talked about their endeavor to recreate this iconic feat and the real-life ‘euphoria’ they experienced in the making of this film.

One quality of Kapil Dev that will continue to live on in Ranveer...

“Amongst a plethora of learnings from this absolutely incredible human being, the one thing that will remain with me is his leadership qualities,” said Ranveer who will be seen playing the lead character of Kapil Dev in the movie, India’s best all-rounder in cricket and the winning captain who gave India the 1983 World Cup win.

“He was a certain kind of leader. Not overbearing or imposing, he had a natural ability to just bring the best out of people, let others around him express themselves and inspire them to lead by example. I’ve learned from him work ethics and how to lead a team, because it comes to him so naturally. He is a born leader,” said Ranveer.

The director and actor spent time with Kapil Dev in his Delhi home, for two weeks, as part of the film’s preparation. “We just took as much as we could from him. During character development sessions, when I’d sit and spend time with him, to hear his thoughts and see his expressions was another experience. He was so open-hearted and generous,” said Ranveer.

“It’s really his leadership skills and qualities that I’ve learned a lot from. Whether it is being a lead actor in a film or leading my own team, the one around me. In many situations I find myself in the position of a leader and these skills that I’ve learned from him, I can now actually access,” the actor added.

Deepika Padukone on playing Kapil Dev’s on-screen wife

Kapil Dev with wife Romi Dev
Kapil Dev with wife Romi Dev

Having grown up in a sports family herself, watching her mother (Ujjala Padukone) play a very similar role in her father Prakash Padukone’s glorious badminton career, the actress said that it was an all-too-familiar territory playing Romi Dev on screen.

“When Kapil Dev is batting, for me to be sitting in the stands as Romi and to feel that emotion of disappointment, joy or nervousness, it was easy for me to experience. I’ve heard first hand stories from my mother of when my father was playing for the All England Championship. How she couldn’t handle it, so she got up and left,” said Deepika.

“She tells me she took me out because I was a small baby at the time and she was scared I’d start crying. So, I had all of these anecdotes.”

“I’ve also seen how supportive she’s been when my father was playing. At the peak of his career, they had to move to Copenhagen and live in Denmark for six years, and my mother had never stepped out of India. To move with bags and baggage, as a newly married couple living in a foreign land was a huge sacrifice,” added Deepika.

“[My mother] was also a working lady at the time, but she gave that up, found a new job and started her life all over again because they both decided to support my father’s dreams. So, I’ve seen it very closely,” said Deepika, adding that Romi Dev’s selflessness is something that will continue to stay with the actor.

Perhaps, it is also this selflessness that sees the actress, commonly cited as Bollywood’s reigning queen, to graciously take a backseat while her husband takes centre stage as the movie’s lead character.

An actor and a cricketer – What do the two have in common?

“There’s extreme discipline on one side. That’s the athlete. And the complete lack of discipline on the other side. With actors in general,” said Deepika, who’s known to swing more towards the disciplined-end of the spectrum, growing up in a sports family.

“I disagree with that,” Ranveer was quick to jump in. “I think I’m very disciplined when it comes to my craft. And that is one great commonality. I find that if you’re a professional cricketer or a professional actor, you feel blessed and grateful because you’re actually getting to do what you love to do. Therefore, you give it everything,” said Ranveer.

The dedication and devotion to your sport and to your craft is very similar, added the actor, who was recently seen on-screen in Rohit Shetty’s magnum opus Sooryavanshi.

Recounting instances of shooting for the film, Ranveer added, “When we were shooting in the UK for four months, the boys [who play the rest of the Indian cricket team] loved to party, they used to go for nights out. Meeting new people, new experiences. But I was exactly like Kapil Sir, by 10 o’clock, I’d have my doodh (milk) and be in bed, so I could be on the pitch at seven in the morning. The similarities were quite uncanny,” added Ranveer.

The fourth movie that sees ‘DeepVeer’ as an on-screen couple ...

...fifth, if you count Ranveer’s cameo in Finding Fanny. Starting their on-screen journey in 2013 with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram-Leela, the duo has garnered immense adulation from the fans for their sizzling on-screen chemistry, but how much of it is derived from the couple’s off-screen romance?

“The sign of a great actor is that none of their personal life comes on set. When I see them as an audience, I see completely different dynamics, according to the script of the film. In ‘83, they completely and totally adopted the dynamic of Romi and Kapil," said filmmaker Kabir Khan. "In the film, that’s what really counts. Of course, the excitement of them being a real-life couple is there and evident while we market the film."

Coming together on-screen with Ranveer after Padmaavat in 2018, Deepika said, “This was actually our first experience post marriage, but I don’t think we come on set thinking “oh, today I’m going to do a scene with my husband”.

“The minute you sit in that make-up chair in the morning, you’re the professional, you’re the actor. I’m not reacting to Ranveer, my husband, I’m reacting to Ranveer, the character,” the actor added. “Have we seen each other evolve as people over a period of time? Yes, definitely. Including the craft.”

To this, Ranveer added, “Deepika is a master of her craft. She has also had a journey where she has evolved into the artist that she is today. There are some actors in my working experience, who you get so excited about shooting with. And there are several in this film, including Pankaj Tripathi. With these actors, you know that all you have to do is just connect with them, be present, and they will elevate your craft, and Deepika is no exception to that.”

“When I know I’m shooting with Deepika, I go on sets being completely stress-free because I know she’ll do more than half of the work. I just have to look into her eyes and the work is done,” said Ranveer.

SHORT TAKES:

Kabir Khan: ‘‘‘83 is a story that today everyone is saying they’d give their right arm to make”

“Those moments were definitely there, where you would feel the weight of the responsibility. To recreate such an important moment in history. But more than fear, we were just so excited to create this film. I believe that sometimes filmmakers don’t choose stories, stories choose filmmakers. This movie chose me. I really couldn’t believe that for 39 years, why didn’t anybody make this film? A story that today everybody is saying, they’d give their right arm to make. I just enjoyed every moment of making this film.”

Ranveer Singh: "I fell in love on the sets of Ram-Leela"

"I was very excited when I found out that Deepika was going to play the role of Romi Dev. We’ve had a journey together as artists, starting from being co-actors in Ram-Leela. We had just met and there was this explosive chemistry that was there for everybody to see on screen. As everyone knows, I fell in love on the sets of Ram-Leela. When I know it’s going to be Deepika with me on shoot the next day, I’m delighted."

Deepika Padukone: "This one’s for all the women who put their dreams aside to support those of their spouses or children"

“I see the same Romi as she was in ‘83, selfless as ever. That supportive wife, who was very happy to put her own dreams and ambitions aside, took a backseat and supported her husband’s dreams and also celebrated it. She was there when he wanted her to be there and was happy to also be invisible if required. I think there are a lot of women in the world today, who play the same role. A lot of them probably even do it willingly, out of their own choice. But I don’t think it should go unnoticed. So, this really is for all those women who put the dreams of either their children, their spouses or their family ahead of their own. And I continue to see [Romi Dev] do that.

somya@khaleejtimes.com


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