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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Why Ranveer Singh’s 83 deserves our love and awe

1983 was a historic feat and it deserved a celluloid nod. Ranveer Singh has conviction in his performance, as Kabir Khan delivers elevating emotional scenes, making 83 a powerful knock.

Written by Manoj Kumar R | Bengaluru |
Updated: January 18, 2022 9:44:20 am
83 film, ranveer singh, kapil devRanveer Singh plays Kapid Dev in 83. (Photo: 83 The Film/Instagram)

Director Terrence Malick marvels at the complex nature of the universe, how various life forms came into being and our evolution as the earth’s dominant creatures in his 45-minute documentary, Voyage Of Time: Life’s Journey. The documentary, a sort of visual ecstasy, doesn’t actually tell us anything astonishingly new about the universe and humankind. However, with the aid of Brad Pitt’s soothing voice, Terrence attempts to invoke a sense of wonder in us about our existence and the deliciously complicated and mysterious ways of mother nature that we take for granted.

Because without the sense of wonder and childlike curiosity, where will we be as a race? And why does Terrence think there is a need to rekindle a sense of wonder in us? Maybe he knows we are fast losing it, which in turn makes us mechanical, argumentative, angry, self-centered and indifferent to creation.

I am afraid the poor box office response to director Kabir Khan‘s biopic drama 83 sort of hints at our collective erosion of the sense of wonder. Astonishingly, a film about one of the greatest achievements of the country on a global platform, which changed the face of Indian cricket, didn’t evoke excitement and curiosity among the majority of us.

I was born at a time when cricket was already a religion in the country and its players were accorded the status of demi-gods. Besides movies, cricket became a profession that allowed one to amass popularity, wealth and fan following quickly. But, I never knew there was a time when the Indian cricket team enjoyed none of this, including basic respect. While now young players unapologetically flaunt their expensive jewelry, watches and high-end lifestyle, it was hard to imagine that in 1983, India’s skipper had to wash his own jersey because he couldn’t afford to pay a dry-cleaner in Britain.

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ranveer singh 83 Ranveer Singh plays Kapil Dev in 83. (Photo: Ranveer Singh/Instagram)

Can you imagine what would have been the state of cricket in India, if Kapil Dev and his team had listened to naysayers and given up on the dream of winning the world cup? It is inspiring to imagine the team playing for the country literally on an empty stomach, a tiny percent of all the facilities enjoyed by today’s cricket players and little to no admiration and respect from the countrymen.

While everyone treated the Indian cricket team as a joke, Kapil Dev and the team held on to their belief. And it won’t be wrong to say that victory changed India. We emerged as a stronger, more dynamic nation worthy of admiration and respect. The country was made aware of the countless possibilities and seemingly endless potential that we could tap into. As a bonus, the country got a new religion that united us cutting across all our social, religious, cultural, political and economic barriers.

I still vividly remember a crowd would gather outside every shop that had a television when a big match was being telecast. Everyone would stand together in harmony and cheer together for the same team, without knowing the religious beliefs and political allegiances of the person standing next to them. And after watching 83, I kind of believe that started in India with the 1983 World Cup performance, which gave people something to believe in and rise above their differences and stand united. The movie sheds light on the watershed moment in India’s history and the cultural phenomena that turned cricket into one of the country’s soft power globally.

In the epilogue, Kapil Dev makes a brief appearance and recounts how he was worried about paying the bills of the many champagne bottles that were opened in sheer excitement of having done the impossible. And today, the BCCI is the richest cricket board in world cricket. None of that would have happened if Kapil Dev had succumbed to ridicule and self-doubt.

Isn’t it fascinating to know how the Indian cricket team was belittled by the press? Or the players were paid a mere 15 pounds daily? Or that the wedding engagements of the cricket players were called off because the bride’s family thought playing cricket won’t pay bills and put food on the table? Isn’t it inspiring how the Indian cricket team accomplished such a historic feat under circumstances that were rigged for it to fail? Doesn’t it fill you up with hope and make your chest swell with pride? Maybe even make you shed a tear of joy?

1983 was a historic feat and it deserved a celluloid nod. Ranveer Singh’s conviction in his performance, and Kabir Khan’s expertise in delivering elevating emotions scene after scene, make the movie a powerful knock.

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