As a cinematic experience, 83 can be easily termed as one of the finest films of the year. You don’t want to miss this one, says our movie review.
Movie Name: 83
Director: Kabir Khan
In a country where cricket is religion, a mainstream Bollywood movie documenting the World Cup win of 1983 is more than just an ambitious dream. Kabir Khan’s 83 is nothing short of perhaps the biggest risk – not just for the director but also for his lead actor, Ranveer Singh, who steps into the shoes of the living legend, Kapil Dev. Has Kabir succeeded in bringing his vision to life? Is Ranveer able to portray Kapil Dev without making him look like a caricature? Let’s find out.
83 needs no introduction with respect to its plotline. It is a film that chronicles the victory of the Indian cricket team in the World Cup of 1983. While the results of the grand final are written down in history books, what makes the film engaging and worth talking about are the hidden gems and personal anecdotes from the lives of the team players. 83 boasts of a huge ensemble cast depicting the entire team that played the final against West Indies on June 25, 1983, – a date that’s gone down in cricketing history. While Ranveer leads the team as the captain, he gets massive support from the rest of the cast members who have delivered stellar performances. They all have important parts to play, that add up beautifully to the final moment. Be it Kapil’s banter with their coach, PR Man Singh, played by Pankaj Tripathi or his tense moments with Sunil Gavaskar (Tahir Raj Bhasin), every scene adds insight and gives a glimpse into what went through their minds as they battled every fear and dodged every ball on the field.
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Kabir colours every player with emotion and makes him stand out in a packed team. Who knew that Krishnamachari Srikkanth (Jiiva) had a sense of humour in moments you least expect someone to raise a cheer. Or of Balwinder Sandhu’s (Ammy Virk) personal loss before the big match. These moments are what make 83 extremely engaging and watchable. You know the climax and the last scene, yet you can’t help but applaud every boundary and six the Indian team hits. A scene between Kapil Dev and Mohinder Amarnath (Saqib Saleem) has no dialogue but an exchange of looks – a glance – and the two actors convey emotions and feelings that words might surpass. That is also the power of the film’s sharp and tight screenplay.
It isn’t just all fun and games, though. The film has several moments that are very personal, and perhaps never documented. A tense exchange of words between Kapil and Gavaskar could have felt over the top, but Kabir’s restraint and craft as a director save it from becoming a gimmick. Pankaj Tripathi has some of the best lines and the actor goes all-out to ensure they command seetis from the audience.
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The captain of the team – Ranveer Singh – delivers a performance that shows a side of him we haven’t seen in a while. Playing a living legend who’s so respected and revered is a treacherous slope. But Ranveer walks it with confidence. Especially the scenes where he speaks in broken English could have felt out-of-sync and fallen flat, yet Ranveer delivers and doesn’t get out of character even for a bit. His ability to show restraint when required and go all-out at the right moments makes 83 one of his career-best performances. Deepika Padukone, who plays his wife Romi, delivers a nuanced performance. She is his pillar of strength and to watch Ranveer and Deepika on the big screen after such a long gap reminds us of their cracking chemistry.
83 does have a few hiccups. Firstly, it is the 2-hour-40-minute runtime and secondly, Kabir’s obsession with long reaction shots of the audience in almost every match the team plays. It would have been a treat to see more cameos instead of the film just focussing on Kapil Dev.
As a cinematic experience, 83 will make you very emotional. It is a film that goes beyond making your heart swell with pride as real-life images and scenes from the actual match flash in front of you. Don’t forget to wear your mask to the theatres but a word of advice – throw in a bunch of tissues. The tears of joy and pride flow incessantly in what can be easily termed as one of the finest films of the year. You don’t want to miss this one!