Director: Kabir Khan
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Jatin Sarma, Hardy Sandhu, Ammy Wirk, Pankaj Tripathi, Brijendra Kalla and Neena Gupta
1983 in a way was a defining moment. This was also the time when Phoolan Devi surrendered, Maruti launched a new car and in the midst of communal disharmony, Indira Gandhi saw cricket as a unifying force.
Not before or since ‘Lagaan’ (2001) has a cricket-based film been authentic, absorbing and interesting. Kabir Khan meets his twin challenges of moving from a docu-drama to a cinematic experience and in casting the tremendous success. Not surprisingly, the cynicism against the team based on how the world and we too viewed the team on paper is depicted before the team with a solitary victory in the earlier two versions transform into the spirited fun-filled group of energetic, unpretentious team.
The narrative clearly slants on showing it as a Kapil show largely. In terms of leadership, his rustic charm was a whiff of fresh air and different from the hitherto stif upper lip verticals of the game. The route to the June 25 finale and flowing champagne at Lords is encapsulated briskly and with a peep into interesting trivia.
While the Tunbridge Wells match saw the unparalleled innings of Kapil Dev – 177 (Not Out) gets its legitimate space, the most crucial semi-finals and 24 overs between Kirti Azad and Jimmy Amarnath conceding only 55 runs in 24 overs and 3 wickets does not get its deserving place.
Another important contribution lost in the celebrating dim is the sound and noise of Sunny to have a slip at all times also goes unsaid and unacknowledged. The strategy is further tested by the fact that Sunny consumed three catches there. These are partly artistic calls of Kabir Khan and editor Nitin Baid. However, from a historic perspective they sure deserved mention.
It is rightly felt that one hardly sees Ranveer in the film. You only see Kapil. This is a huge say. All the more, when their persona are as different as chalk and cheese. Like Kapil in the 1983 World Cup, Ranveer Singh marches with full honours. Both when he is required to underplay his emotions and when he evokes laughter with his English, he is top class.
The highest scorer in the World Cup final, Kris Srikkanth, is a character in his own right. Jiiva does full justice with his Kris mannerisms and English. He and Tahir Raj Bhasin are a perfect Kris-Sunny pair.
Serendipity or spirit, nearly four decades down, is a moot question. The spirit was there and was obviously infused by Kapil. Ranveer Energy Singh does that to the Kabir Khan encore.
To those who saw the ’83 finals, here is nostalgia. To those who did not, here is detail. To those who love cinema, here is cricket. To those who are crazy about the game, here is cinema. Make your heady cocktail with ’83. The adrenaline is in full flow.
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