The movie on Netflix, ’83 (2021) had the two stars I like, Kapil Dev and Ranveer Singh, and so it was a thorough treat for me. Directed by Kabir Khan, ’83 was all about the on-ground cricket India played during the 1983 World Cup games, there were no flashbacks of the characters, no drama around the selection process, no backstabbing or treachery, just cricket. The story remained focused on how the underdogs, India, who were expected not even to win a single match, started their tour by defeating the mighty West Indies and finally winning the coveted cup. You don’t want to miss this motivating film which gets a Mangoidiots rating of Ripe.
The Indian Cricket team’s victory in the World Cup in the UK in 1983 is still an unforgettable moment for most Indians who grew up in the 1980s – it was for me too!. As a young kid then, I was a fan of Kapil Dev and to watch him bowl fast (he was the best India had at that time) was fun, I was more fascinated by his unorthodox batting style and looked forward to when he puts his (batting) pads on. Every time he was on the pitch, he exhibited incautious confidence. In the film, Ranveer Singh had captured the essence of being Kapil Dev and brought it to the big screen, a brilliant performance by him.
Pankaj Tripathi (of Kaagaz 2021 fame) was outstanding as the team’s manager PR Man Singh – his character was the glue holding the fragile team together. I liked the scenes where he was shown trying to keep the expenses controlled and get everything going. We need to remember that the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) of those days didn’t have the money or the power that it wields around the world of cricket today, and there were foreign exchange shortages as well for international travel including for the players of Indian cricket. I enjoyed seeing Jiiva in the role of the hasty Krishmachari Srikkanth, his character is shown to add the humour element in the screenplay – as a South Indian I felt it was a bit stereotypical to show a ‘Madrasi’ as the funny one, but it can be ignored.
Recreating the grounds, the large number of audiences for every match doing that during a pandemic would have been a demanding task and the makers of the film deserve big kudos for the same. Kapil Dev makes a brief appearance which was good, in a few scenes Mohindar Amarnath comes as his father Lala Amarnath. Having seen in those years Kapil Dev‘s wife Romi in magazines and TV, I don’t feel Deepika Padukone suited the role that much.
At 161 minutes, the movie was not short, but at no time did it slump, it kept the audience on the edge of their seats throughout.