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'83' Trailer Captures Emotions but Hope It Will Sift Fact From Fiction

The film '83' is set to release in December. It tells the story of India's 1983 World Cup-winning campaign.

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4 min read
'83' Trailer Captures Emotions but Hope It Will Sift Fact From Fiction
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The much-awaited movie based around India's 1983 Cricket World Cup win is almost here, with the trailer being released on Tuesday.

The 3 minute 49 second clip has sparked a lot of interest and a lot of debate on social media. The movie, when it gets released, will also generate a lot of interest because it is based on an event that changed the course of Indian and world cricket, forever.

The part that has caught one's imagination for now is the match at the Tunbridge Wells when the then captain Kapil Dev struck a hurricane 175 not out against Zimbabwe to revive the innings and India's campaign in the World Cup.

Now there are a number of stories about that match. Some of it fact and most of it fiction.

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The biggest fiction obviously relates to the television coverage of the match, or the lack thereof, due to a mythical strike by BBC staffers.

The fact is, there was no strike by the BBC staff. The only reason the India vs Zimbabwe clash was not filmed was because there were three other games on the same day. One of them had England squaring off against Sri Lanka, Australia was playing the mighty West Indies, and New Zealand was taking on Pakistan in the third game.

That was a different era when not every game needed to be on television.

The mythology around the Kapil's magical innings of 175 not out can never be countered, because most people involved have different versions of the knock. There are some elements in tales of his innings that are common and they all relate to the part where Kapil was in the shower when India’s innings started. He had to be pushed to come out early because his turn would come anytime soon. At least on evidence of the trailer, that has been captured.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Kapil Dev was in the shower and had to be forced out by his teammates as the team was reduced to 77/6 in the match versus Zimbabwe.</p></div>

Kapil Dev was in the shower and had to be forced out by his teammates as the team was reduced to 77/6 in the match versus Zimbabwe.

(Photo: 83)

The other aspect of Kapil was his inability to speak Queen’s English. There are different types of stories that did the rounds in mid to late 1980s about Kapil and his tryst with English. Some aspects about it have been captured in the movie too it seems.

The most famous quip about why another Kapil cannot be produced has still not been forgotten. Story goes that Kapil was asked at a press conference why India doesn’t produce another Kapil Dev, to which his reply was: mother is old and father died so there is no chance of another Kapil!

The quote has only too often been attributed to Kapil, but never really been corroborated.

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The tragedy about the 1983 World Cup is that the entire campaign has never been captured correctly and effectively in either a book or a film. At the time, in 1983, the win was indeed a big deal but it has been made larger than life because successive Indian World Cup campaigns have yielded disappointments since. That campaign became triumphant only because of the fact that there were no expectations from the squad. But over the years different events have been presented in different ways by members of the squad and those who happened to be there. None of it can ever be verified.

The only person who comes close to providing a proper recollection of events of the 1983 World Cup is Sunil Gavaskar, who is a master chronicler of history himself.

One of the biggest stories to emerge from the 1983 World Cup win was the misunderstanding that erupted between Gavaskar and Kapil Dev. So much so that Gavaskar was dropped from a couple of the games, which India went on to lose!

Kapil later claimed in his book that Gavaskar did not understand his English. But it has never been spoken about since Kapil’s book released in 1986.

The stories about Krishnamachari Srikkanth’s eye twitching are well documented. The trailer shows Srikkanth twitching his eyes while meeting Queen Elizabeth. The same story about Srikkanth has been told when he was supposedly meeting the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. So which one was true?

There are other events around the 1983 World Cup which need a proper, authentic retelling because as years pass by it is important to catalogue the events properly. Now not everyone knows that the entire squad did not travel to England for the tournament together. There are other aspects like them being charged for excess baggage at Bombay airport before they left. There are many such anecdotes around the triumph that have never been catalogued: hopefully, this film will do that.

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The trailer shows emotions that captured the imagination of crores of Indians both in India and the United Kingdom. It changed the grammar of world cricket forever. Hopefully, this particular film will bring us close to what actually happened then in 1983 around the build-up, the campaign, and the celebrations that followed.

The celebrations at Lord’s, at the hotel they stayed in or in Bombay when they returned home, need a proper retelling.

One thing is for certain: this movie will end up capturing the mood of the nation because it will touch a raw emotional nerve that is associated with this World Cup win.

The other big aspect is that an Indian cricket team will finally be seen with the World Cup trophy, albeit on the big screen! It has been that long in reality.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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