Director: Kabir Khan
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Pankaj Tripathi
The greatest underdog story of all time, the journey of the Indian Cricket Team to lift the world cup has finally found its way to the silver screen with Kabir Khan’s 83’ featuring Ranveer Singh as the captain, Kapil Dev. While one may misunderstand it for a biopic of the captain, it’s actually a holistic film that represents the journey of the team, acting as an ode to the efforts of all the achievers who rose like a phoenix when no-one expected.
Kabir Khan makes it clear from the first frame – ‘This Indian team can’t win the world cup’ – and one knows that the journey going forward is going to be a roller coaster ride with the team triumphing over all odds. The initial hour has some tender moments, with humorous undertones too, which brings a smile. There are some moments that swell your chest with pride, especially the moments of India winning their first game against the West Indies. But the issue primarily in the first half of 83’ lies in the fact that the director and his team of writers time and again keep reminding the audience through various instances that this team can’t win the world cup. The element of repetitiveness settles and it’s towards the interval that the film begins to hold its grip.
Kabir Khan elevates the sentiments and plays up on the emotions (which tend to get manipulative too) in the second half. The filmmaker has kept the screenplay pretty simple, making an attempt to reach out to the least common denominator of our country. The simplification of the screenplay does take the thrill and drama away, but well, that’s Kabir’s approach of making a universal film and making it reach a wide spectrum of audience. And it’s this factor which might work in favor of 83’ in the longer run. The screenplay in second half is loaded with crowd pleasing moments, which are sure to receive cheers from the audience – be it the buildup for Kapil’s 175* or the iconic catch to get Viv Richards out in the World Cup Finals, the moment of victory, captains’ monolog in the dressing room or finally, the subtle commentary of how cricket unites the nation.
The dramatic quotient could have been a little higher, given how iconic and emotional the moment is for the fans, but yet, the film rather, the real story has enough to get the audience emotionally invested. The USP of film are the cricket matches, and most of them are done well. Though, the camera work could have been better here. The dialogues are fine with a perfect blend of heroism and humor. The production values, as expected, are top notch. Pritam’s background score is effective, and the songs blend well with the narrative.
Talking of performances, Ranveer Singh has imbibed Kapil Dev and sinks into the skin of character from the word go. Ranveer’s dialogue delivery is phenomenal and he yet again proves the range he has to offer as an actor. The character required a sense of calm, and Ranveer aces in this space. Tahir Raj Bhasin as Sunil Gavaskar doesn’t have a lot to do, but it’s difficult to ignore him. He has got the character traits, including the smile, of the cricketing legend bang on. Pankaj Tripathi as PR Man Singh is reliable as always, whereas Jiva as Srikkanth is a riot, bringing in the laughter at regular intervals. In-fact, he gets the best moment of the film in the second half where the feeling of reaching the finals finally sinks in. Deepika Padukone does well in her cameo and gets her glorious moment too in the film. Saqib Saleem, Jatin Sarna, Chirag Patil, Dinker Sharma, Nishant Dahiya, Harrdy Sandhu, Sahil Khatter, Amy Virk, Adinath Kothare, R Badree, Neena Gupta, Boman Irani and rest of the cast do well in their respective roles. Watch out for some surprising cameos, which is sure to bring the house down with cheers.
All in all, 83 is a well-made sport film, which will be received with seeti’s and taali’s from the audience and take them back to the era of India’s first cricket world cup win. 83 not a perfect film, but well, neither was the Indian cricket team. It’s an ode to the legacy of legends!