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What Dilip Vengsarkar told Adinath Kothare about his 83 injury during match with West Indies: ‘I just wanted to…’

Popular Marathi actor Adinath Kothare steps into the shoes of Dilip 'Colonel' Vengsarkar in 83. In this exclusive chat, he talks about the film, working in an ensemble and how his disheveled look from Paani helped him bag the project.

Written by Sana Farzeen | Mumbai |
December 25, 2021 8:04:08 am
adinath kothare, 83 filmAdinath Kothare plays Dilip Vengsarkar in 83. (Photo: Adinath/Instagram)

Kabir Khan directed 83, which brings to life India’s underdog win at the 1983 World Cup, is finally here. While Ranveer Singh is winning accolades for his performance as Kapil Dev, other actors playing his ‘Devils’ have also left fans and critics impressed. From Saqib Saleem, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Jatin Sarna, jIIVA, Harrdy Sandhu to Ammy Virk, each actor brings fore an uncanny portrayal of champion cricketers. Among them also stands actor Adinath Kothare, who plays Dilip Vengsarkar in the sports drama. An acclaimed Marathi actor, Adinath’s directorial debut Paani won the 66th National Award for Best Film on Environment Conservation/Preservation.

Speaking exclusively to indianexpress.com, the actor shared that he somewhere credits Paani for helping him bag 83. Adinath Kothare had just come back after shooting for the film, which also features him in the lead. He was tanned, had lost almost 10 kilos, and was sporting a moustache. “This was the time I received a call from Mukesh Chhabra’s office for an ad film. However, when I went there, I was told the ad film required a different look. As I was leaving, one of the assistants stopped me and said that my new look might suit another casting,” he shared. Soon, the actor was asked to see some videos of Dilip Vengsarkar and asked if he could duplicate the style.

The reel and real world of 83. (Photo: Adinath Kothare)

“When I was told it’s for Kabir Khan’s 83 where Ranveer Singh is playing Kapil Dev, I knew it was a huge project. I gave the audition but did not hear for a long time from them. I almost forgot about it when I got a call one day asking if I can come and meet Kabir Khan the next day. I was excited and also nervous. I did my homework, read about the 83 World Cup and Dilip sir. I also did my cardio, shaved to look all sharp. And when I met him, I was in for a surprise as Kabir sir was so chilled out. It was an amazing interaction and he narrated the entire script. He also told me how the film is not just on Kapil Dev but the entire team, and how each one had their own moments, and contributed to the win. I was blown away by the entire conversation and at the end of it, he just shook my hands and said ‘welcome on board’. That’s how my journey with 83 started.”

Adinath Kothare poses with Kapil Dev during the promotions of 83. (Photo: Adinath Kothare)

While the physical resemblance was thanks to the casting and styling but Kothare shared how each actor also had to get the cricketers’ style of playing. “We were enacting living legends and their style of playing, speaking, walking is known to the world. There was no scope for us to go wrong. We trained for a year under Balvinder Sandhu. Dilip sir has a very unique grip and he himself told me how he struggled with that all through his career. Even then he has the most graceful shots, and that made him earn the title of ‘Colonel’ from Lala Amarnath. It was a very difficult learning experience and I am waiting for people to share their feedback on my performance.”

Dilip Vengsarkar was injured during the second match with West Indies, when Marshal Malcolm’s bouncer hit him on the chin. While he recuperated from the grievous injury, the cricketer had to miss the rest of the matches. Calling the team the ‘Clint Eastwood’ of cricket, Adinath shared how he was amazed at how they faced the fastest bowlers with no proper equipment. “When I asked him about the incident, he smile and told me that ‘I wanted to play yaar. I didn’t care about the injury’. It’s just that the doctors didn’t allow him. I was just amazed at how rough and tough they are. They truly were cut out of a different cloth.”

Adinath Kothare shows off the now famous ‘Dilip Vengsarkar injury’ during the shoot of 83. (Photo: Adinath Kothare)

He further shared how it was essential for all actors to have a bond, given they were part of a team on screen. And the on-screen camaraderie would have only been portrayed on screen if they did gel in real life. Crediting their Dharamshala boot camp for breaking the ice, the actor shared that it was a very smart move by makers. “We were living, eating, sleeping together and for the first time, we did feel like a team. Post that camp, we started hanging out together and became thick friends. I think we needed that energy and it became extremely crucial for the shoot. Luckily for us, that just kept getting better every day.”

The 83 gang with their director Kabir Khan. (Photo: Adinath Kothare)

Stating that while each one brought in a different flavour, it was obviously Ranveer Singh who was the constant riot in their locker room. Calling him a ball of energy, Adinath Kothare shared that they always looked forward to having him around. He added that the rest of the team was equally mad and it looked like a bunch of ‘mad men came together for the film’.

The crazy 83 gang posing in their locker room. (Photo: Adinath Kothare) Adinath Kothare playing one of his Dilip Vengsarkar shots in 83 still. (Photo: Adinath Kothare)

Working on an ensemble also turned out to be a learning experience for him as he realised the importance of ‘team spirit’. “As actors, we crave attention and there was a lot of anxiety among everyone on how would we all share the limelight. As I said, the camp at Dharmashala helped us become friends. It was such an important exercise psychologically and socially, as it really helped us get together. Be it Ranveer or anyone, I think we were such secure actors that we never flinched at being a part of a team, and helping each other perform. I think I learnt so much on this shoot and the infectious energy among each other kept us going.”

Asked about the delays 83 faced due to the pandemic, he said, “I think it’s an evergreen subject and even if it came after 10 years, it would have gotten the same response. However, we were running out of patience and had started to turn extremely impatient. Our prayers have finally been heard and now the world can see our labour of love in theatres.”

83 also stars Deepika Padukone, Pankaj Tripathi, Jiiva, Dinker Sharma, Nishant Dahiya among others.

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