25th June 1983. A date no cricket lover in India will ever forget. Not only was it our tryst with destiny but the day that changed the course of Indian Cricket forever. It was the day when India lifted the ODI world cup for the very first time, beating the mighty West Indies. If you are interested in the detailed preview then please head to our “83 Preview” on Popcorn Reviewss. And being a cricket fanatic and a keen student of the game, I was quite fascinated by this accomplishment. Ofcourse it came at a period when I wasn’t born and none of us 90 kids were as well, and we were privy to the 2007 T20 world cup win and the famous 2011 ODI World Cup win. But I always wanted to feel the euphoria of the 1983 world cup and what was the atmosphere back then. So I was quite excited for the release of 83. And finally I have finished watching it, how was my big screen experience and majorly is the film worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Based on true events, 83 traces the journey of Kapil’s devils as they under the world cup as an underdog and end up ultimately lifting the prestiged trophy. The story is bound to give you goosebumps in what turns out to be a tale that inspired future generations as well. The screenplay is outstanding. There is never a dull moment and the 2 hour 42 minute runtime passes off like a breeze. What I really enjoyed was that there were no subplots or distractions in the form of a love story or otherwise. This is a 162 minute cricket film and cricket is what you get through and through! The situations that are re-enacted and quite interesting and something that will keep you glued throughout. Also the humour which is engrained here is well intentioned and that is precisely why it works here. Also I was skeptical about the portrayal of nationalism from what I saw from the trailer(that I may have watched over 50 times). Thankfully, the nationalism isn’t reduced to chest thumping jingoism and that is another check.
Another skepticism that I had was if the opponents are shown in bad light. For example, I wouldn’t want someone like Sir Viv Richards to be shown as a “villain”. And that isn’t the case either and thankfully so! While the first half depicts the rise and fall of the underdogs, the famous knock of Kapil Dev, that blistering 175 not out against Zimbabwe is shown in the second half. And what a goosebumps worthy sequence that is, one of the best ODI innings of all times! Ofcourse for cricket geeks like me the drama is predictable as I was aware of almost every aspect contributing to India’s win. But what the screenplay does is add joy, laughter, tears and ecstasy that makes the film an absolute must in a theatre. With people cheering and hooting, this was food for my cricketing soul!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are minimally used here which was a smart thing to do. They literally let the ball do the talking and that did create the desired impact. The music is excellent here and it creates that atmosphere of crescendo that would potentially leave you with moist eyes at regular junctures. The BGM is pulsating and heightens the drama particularly the cricket sequences. Director Kabir Khan has done a phenomenal job here. He definitely understands the pulse of the audience and serves them exactly that – Cricket! Yes, his love for borders is visible but none of the side plots overpower the main plot. Instead the focus is majorly on the underdog team and moments that they create, and for that the direction deserves distinction marks!
This is another ensemble handpicked by Mukesh Chhabra that delivers a stellar performance. Boman Irani, Neena Gupta, Brijendra Kala and Neeraj Sood all have their moments to shine. Wamiqa Gabbi and Deepika Padukone shine in cameos especially towards the end! But the stage belonged to the 15 member squad(14 players and 1 manager). Pankaj Tripathi as PR Man Singh is excellent and it amazes me the ease with which he performs. R Badree as Sunil Valson is first rate particularly a couple of expressions which he gives. Adinath Kothare as Dilip Vengsarkar is quite good. Dhairya Karwa as Ravi Shastri definitely looks his part. Ditto for Sahil Khattar who is excellent as Syed Kirmani. Dinkerr Sharma as Kirti Azad has a towering presence and does a good job. Nishant Dahiya as Roger Binny is pitch perfect. Tahir Raj Bhasin as Sunil Gawaskar looks astonishingly similar to him and imtitates his swag with perfection. Ammy Virk as Balwinder Sandhu is such a brilliant actor. He does a balancing act between a few comic moments and some heartfelt moments and he excels in both. Hardy Sandhu as Madan Lal is outstanding and he definitely holds his own ground in many scenes. Chirag Patil playing his own father Sandeep Patil is quite good. Jatin Sarna essaying the role of late Yashpal Sharma is terrific and he oozes with confidence. Saqib Saleem as Mohinder Amarnath is wonderfully restrained and so much in control of things. The moments which he shares with his father Lala Amarnath(essayed by Mohinder Amarnath himself) is heartwarming. Jiiva as Kris Srikanth for me is the screen stealer here! Not only does he bat like him but also his mannerisms are pitch perfect. Oh my word, what an epic performance. And Ranveer Singh is every bit of Kapil Dev as anyone would be. His mannerisms, his batting stance, his bowling action, his style resemble the legend in a big way but it is his acting that doesn’t digress and allows for a holistic performance! And he might as well start playing for India as India needs a fast bowling allrounder(ok thoda zyaada ho gaya😅).
Joy, Laughter, Tears, Ecstasy are the words that sum up 83. A fitting tribute to the Original Gangsters of Indian Cricket! This is how you make a sports drama! As they say, save the best for last, what a way to end the year! Available in a theatre near you and Highly Highly Highly Recommended!