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'83' Movie Review: Kabir Khan's Film With Ranveer Singh and Team Is All Heart

Our review of Kabir Khan's sports drama '83' starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Pankaj Tripathi

Updated
Movie Reviews
3 min read

No one took Team India seriously when they arrived for the 1983 Cricket World Cup. In fact the dazzling 175 not out by Kapil Dev against Zimbabwe in the group stage match which helped India stay on in the tournament wasn’t even deemed important enough to be covered by the BBC. Kabir Khan’s 83 brings alive on screen many such splendid moments from India’s miraculous rise and eventual ascent as cricket world champions.

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Everyone loves a good underdog story and 83 plays to its strengths. It was a very different India back then and unlike the humongous endorsement deals flaunting Indian cricketers and BCCI, which is the wealthiest cricket board in the world today, these players were fighting for relevance and visibility. This was a motley modest crew of talented young men who had never won a wold cup match before. Worse, no one thought they could. So much so that when the Indian captain Kapil Dev, in a press conference stated that they were here to win he was met with bemused chuckles from the press present. Navigating 'angrezi' and their measly daily allowance the young men scripted history. Kabir Khan tries to chronicle the spectacular win and why it meant so much more than just another sports tournament. The sense of pride brought a whole nation together, and in cheering for Team India all other differences seem to dissolve.

From the lethal bowling attack of the reigning champions, West Indies, who dominated world cricket at the time, to an intimate story of why the team manager PR Man Singh was craning his neck in a group picture, Kabir Khan dextrously uses actual video footage and photographs to make this narrative breathe and throb with excitement.

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Ranveer Singh transforms admirably into the affable yet resolutely determined Kapil Dev who led from the front. The quality of cricketing on screen is excellent. Aseem Mishra’s camera work captures the rising tension on and off the field complimented by Julius Packiam's background score. A lot of time and focus is on the on-field shenanigans and rightly so. The sequences have been brilliantly crafted. The dressing room banter, shared predicament all translates beautifully as Tahir Raj Bhasin, Jatin Sarna, Pankaj Tripathi, Saqib Saleem, Ammy Virk cast with care, deliver handsomely.

Deepika Padukone who comes in post-interval in the film doesn’t have much of a role really as Kapil’s wife. Although one might complain that the camera lingers on her face unnecessarily for far too long, or some moments seem a little on the nose and manipulative, 83 the film is hugely enjoyable and made with a lot of heart.

The 1983 victory was like no other, particularly because of how impossible it seemed at the time. 83 is a competently made ode to the game of cricket and the team that made all Indians feel like champions.

Our Rating: 4 Quints out of 5

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