Making a film based on a real sporting event is very difficult, especially making one that could stand out for its idea, production, characterisation, script, as well as execution. 83 manages to do all that being as big, and as a pleasant surprise as a World Cup win may suffice.
I think it is obvious for any Bollywood film to have some extra unnecessary salt and this film has it to but it doesn’t spoil the dish. Frame by frame, one will fall in love with the elements that make this a rich cinematic delight. First and foremost is Ranveer Singh who has done a marvellous job of getting into the skin of Kapil Dev and delivers a performance worthy of watching again and again. This is a really high-class effort as it isn’t easy trying to emulate an art perfected by a well-established sportsman.
You will begin to make connections with the reel characters. You will understand the strengths, vulnerabilities, mindsets, and varied backgrounds the players of 83 come from. They make you laugh, and they make you sigh. Each character punches above their weight to make you feel as close as you can get to that golden batch of cricketers who helped India find its place of pride in the sporting stage. The only drawback from these is the constant showing of real images from 1983 throughout the film. It was done to add emotion but actually wasn’t a great cinematic choice. At the end of the day, this is a film. Therefore, we want to experience the moments from the point of view of the characters on screen. The constant real-life images kept reminding us that this is just a film and sucked the experiences added up until that point.
Besides Ranveer Singh, Pankaj Tripathi reigns supreme being in the role of a team manager. He steals the scenes everytime he appears on the screen but is that against the sporting backdrop that is otherwise supposed to be the main show?
Director Kabir Khan deserves a lot of praise for getting the replication of cricketing action to a very high degree of accuracy. Action is watchable just for the cricketing part of it. You can only provide the highest of praises for getting this aspect right. It ensures as a close observer of the game, you aren’t lost in finding faults. To have achieved this also during the two years of lockdown is a massive logistical win.
Where the film falls short is the rather tame addition of political-communal context which isn’t developed enough. Also, Deepika Padukone’s character is just a nuisance. I don’t how you can live on with a wife that didn’t support you in your lowest of times. In this case, a potential collapse in the final. It takes a little bit of gloss away from what is otherwise an excellent product.
Overall, 83 relives the journey of a team and its inspiring captain to the generations who would have otherwise missed it in the current glory days of Indian Cricket. It shows us where they have come from. And for that, the director and his crew deserve a massive round of applause.
K- Score: 84%
STW: 26/30, D: 21/25, C: 6/8, E: 4/5, PVD: 12/12, S: 7/10, A: 8/10