Meeting a Match in Celebration

Movie Name: 83

Year: 2021

Director: Kabir Khan

Language: Hindi

“Why is Kapil Dev with poor English-speaking skills replacing Sunil Gavaskar as the captain of the Indian cricket team?”; “Man Singh ji, could you please get the autograph of West Indian player Viv Richards. Please don’t forget.”.

When P.R. Man Singh, Indian Cricket team manager was all set to take the team to the 3rd World Cup in England, he was met with absolute criticism and skepticism. People had no hopes for the team to even make it past the initial qualifier matches. Brushing aside all doubts, the team manager led the team to rising heights.

Talk about the final match of Cricket World Cup between India and West Indies held on June 25, 1983, any Indian would vouch for it as an emotion rather than a mere victory moment. That year, the race to clinch the World Cup brought Indians together emotionally. Director Kabir Khan’s movie ‘83’ is a sincere attempt to relive the moments from the time the Indian cricket team reached England. The team, led by the vivacious and optimistic Kapil Dev, was not sans moments of inner conflicts, pressure to perform and nosedive and rising from the ashes of doubt.

In England, addressing a press conference about how India hopes to take on the mighty teams, Kapil Dev gave them a befitting reply with confidence yet in broken English. Even in England, nobody believed in their performance. When Singh asked for a pass for the team to the Lord’s stadium, the Board members asked them why they would need it, as Indians had no matches in the stadium. There began the journey to prove themselves.

Original photo taken at World Cup 1983 (Right) - Recreation made in the 83 movie (Left)

The highlight of the movie is the choice of actors to play various characters. For instance, cricketer Mohinder Amarnath reprises the role of his father Lala Amarnath. Ranveer Singh who plays Kapil Dev has indeed gotten into the skin of the character. Utmost care has been taken to make the actors resemble the original players. The actors definitely fit the bill. Actor Saqib Saleem beautifully reprises the role of ‘Jimmy’ Amarnath as a capable yet nervous cricketer who is under extreme pressure to carry forward the cricket legacy of his father. Actor Jiiva playing the role of the loud and expressive Krishnamachari Srikkanth does full justice to the role. The most admirable is the role of Man Singh played by Pankaj Tripathi with real finesse and maturity. Also, the West Indian team portrayal is to the T.

Endearingly, director Kabir Khan presents a splendid blend of emotions such as humour, tear-jerkers and fervour throughout his narration. For instance, it was never only about the match. Thanks to the match, the television made way to the homes of people. The stature of Captain ‘Cool’ Kapil in the most distressing moments is indeed motivating. However, the run time of nearly three hours could be a little trying sometimes. But the racy moments leading up to the Finals held at Lords make up for all the wait.

‘83’ is a trip down the memory lane for different generations that evoke various emotions. Nostalgia, definitely worth a watch!

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