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Was Arjun Kapoor first choice to play Kapil Dev in 83? Director Kabir Khan addresses rumours, calls Ranveer Singh a ‘chameleon’

While speaking to The Times of India, Kabir Khan said that every since he was asked to make sports drama 83, no other name crossed his mind and he wanted Ranveer Singh for the role of Kapil Dev.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: December 19, 2021 8:42:48 am
83 movie, ranveer singh, kabir khan83 released on December 24. (Photo: Reliance Entertainment)

Kabir Khan, the director of the upcoming sports drama 83, has said that he always had actor Ranveer Singh in his mind for the lead role of former cricketer Kapil Dev. The film is about how the underdog Indian cricket team, captained by Kapil, brought home the country’s first World Cup in 1983.

While speaking to The Times of India, Kabir said that from the earliest stages of his involvement in the project, no other name crossed his mind and he wanted Ranveer for the role. He was asked to comment on whether actor Arjun Kapoor was the original choice for the part.

In the same ToI interview, he also called the actor a “chameleon” for his ability to credibly essay a variety of roles. The filmmaker advised Ranveer that he was not participating in a lookalike contest, and told him that he needed to imbibe Kapil’s persona instead.

Thus far, judging purely by the trailers and promos, Ranveer seems to have hit it out of the park with his portrayal. Like all the best portrayals of real-world public figures, he is going for interpretation, rather than impersonation. Certainly, there is a resemblance in terms of how he looks and sounds, that particular Kapil Dev cadence, but on the whole, it is not the sort of cartoonish mimicry it could have been.

In 2017, there were reports saying Arjun Kapoor had also been in conversation about taking up the role of Kapil Dev. As per PTI, he was asked about missing out on the role. He said it would be unfair to speak and trivialise the project.

“This is not my film, it’s a film made for India. It is a very important film for the country. I don’t want to trivialise it by talking about the personal aspect of it. That is not necessary,” he told reporters in an event.

In the film, Ranveer’s wife, actor Deepika Padukone, plays the role of Romi Bhatia Dev, Kapil Dev’s wife. Apart from Ranveer and Deepika, 83 also stars Harrdy Sandhu, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Jiiva, Saqib Saleem, Jatin Sarna, Chirag Patil, Dinker Sharma, Nishant Dahiya, Sahil Khattar, Ammy Virk, Addinath Kothare, Dhairya Karwa, R Badree and Pankaj Tripathi.

83 releases in theatres on December 24, after being delayed by over a year due to the pandemic.

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