Movie Review: If cricket is religion, 83 is a hymn

Rating: 4/5                        

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Pankaj Tripathi, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Jiiva, Saqib Saleem, Jatin Sarna, Chirag Patil, Dinker Sharma, Nishant Dahiya, Harrdy Sandhu, Sahil Khattar, Ammy Virk, Adinath Kothare, Dhairya Karwa, R Badree

Director: Kabir Khan

Screenplay: Kabir Khan, Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan, Vasan Bala

Dialogues: Kabir Khan, Sumit Arora

Story: Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan

Producers: Deepika Padukone, Kabir Khan, Vishnuvardhan Induri, Sajid Nadiadwala, Reliance Entertainment, Phantom Films, 83 Film Ltd

Rewatching history being made and reliving India’s cricketing wins can never be boring for cricket fans. 

83 takes it to the next level by showcasing not only India’s World Cup journey but also by recreating highlights of a match that was never telecast/recorded. 

Sacrilege!  – that’s what it would be today, to not telecast any Indian match. 

However, cricket buffs know that there is no recorded footage of a match that sowed the seeds of India’s World Cup win in 1983. 

The India vs Zimbabwe match in which Kapil played a captain's knock of 175, was not telecast because BBC employees were on strike and also because it was not considered as important as covering England and Australia matches. 

We re-lived it in the theatres today, along with India’s first World Cup win in the 3rd edition of the Cricket World Cup via 83. 

The biographical story stays true to real events with undeniably impressive attention to detail. The smoothly interspersed vignettes of the original matches are a master touch. Take a bow, Kabir Khan. 

The music score by Julius Pakhiam is en pointe, right up to when the final titles roll. 

The rousing songs Lehrado, Jeetega, Bigadne De and Sakht Jaan by Pritam are sure to be played at a multitude of matches and will be loud and loved during the IPL too! 

The casting is superb. Ranveer Singh as Kapil Dev, Indian team Captain has hit it out of the park. 

Pankaj Tripathi as the Indian team Manager,  PR Man Singh has aced another role and mastered yet another accent. 

Tahir Raj Bhasin as Sunil Gavaskar is cute but ought to have been shorter. 

South star Jiiva as opening batsmen Krishnamachari Srikkanth has the sniffle and wink perfected and provides the funny moments. Did he really smoke like a chimney all the time is a question I’ll be googling sometime?

Like father like son.

Saqib Saleem as Mohinder Amarnath is backed by his own solid performance as his dad Lala Amarnath.

Another son who plays his dad's role is Marathi actor Chirag Patil as Sandeep Patil. 

In the West Indian team, opening batsman Gordon Greenidge’s son Carl and fast bowler Malcolm Marshall’s son Mali are donning their fathers cricketing boots in the movie. 

The West Indian captain, Clive Lloyd’s son Jason plays the role of the 6 foot, 8 inch fast bowler Joel Garner. While Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s son essays the role of Lary Gomes. 

Jatin Sarna as Yashpal Sharma, Dinker Sharma as Kirti Azad, Nishant Dahiya as Roger Binny, Harrdy Sandhu as Madan Lal and Sahil Khattar as one of India’s most successful wicket keepers, Syed Kirmani smoothly grow into their characters and their cricketing style 

Punjabi singer and actor Ammy Virk as Balwinder Sandhu is good as is Adinath Kothare as Dilip Vengsarkar (who gets injured) and Dhairya Karwa as Ravi Shastri (who did not play in the World Cup – at least not on the cricket ground). 

Neena Gupta plays Kapil's mother, but I was keener to find out how she reacted to the perfect picturisation of Vivian Richards. 

Boman Irani as Farokh Engineer in the commentary box didn’t have as easy a time as today’s Indian commentators. 

Nor did the WAG’s (wives and girlfriends) of the cricketers, though they – I learnt from the movie – did get to travel with the team and watch the matches. 

It is a 2 hour 40-minute long movie though and the editing could have been crisper. By the time India was playing and winning the final, people had started sneaking peeks at their mobiles/watches. 

Despite this, tears were surreptitiously wiped away and the audience broke into spontaneous applause quite a few times, especially in the last few scenes. 

For a nation where cricket is a unifying religion, 83 will definitely be one of the popular hymns, especially with God making a child appearance and vowing to play for India one day.