“83”, directed by Kabir Khan, narrates the story of one of the most celebrated events in the history of India. The 1983 Cricket World Cup win came at a time when the nation was still trying to find its footing on the world stage. It had been 36 years since India got freedom from colonial rule, but respect was still to be earned. Under Kapil Dev’s captaincy, the team that was selected to go to England to play in the world cup was excited, not by the prospect of winning the world cup, but getting a chance to go on a paid vacation.
How could anybody possibly dare to imagine that an underdog team would go to win the world cup. The deadly West Indians, the formidable Australians, and the Englishmen were the frontrunners. Nobody even in their dreams would have bet their money on the Indian Team. Given an option, even the team members wouldn’t have. One can imagine the expectations by the very fact that the return tickets for the team were booked even before the dates of the World Cup Final. So devoid of any expectations, players hailing from different parts of India reached for what they assumed would be a short stay in England.
’83’ Plot Summary – The Foundation Of A Battle
A young Kapil Dev was given the opportunity to be the captain of team India. The all-rounder, also known as the Haryana Hurricane, had brought a newfound fervor to the team. Though individually, the Indian team consisted of some talented players, they still had a long way to go before they learned how to play like a team.
Krishnamachari Shrikant, the Indian opener, rightly said that a person needs to be mad enough to believe that he could beat the invincible West Indies, who had won two consecutive world cups before. Michael Holding, Colin Croft, Joel Garner, and Andy Roberts were known as the fearsome four in the cricketing arena. These bowlers from the Caribbean islands hunted in packs. When Colin Croft retired in 1982, Marshal Malcolm joined the scene and became a part of the fearsome bowling attack. If somehow you survived the wrath of these machine guns, then the bowlers would have to face one of the finest attacking batsmen that the world had ever seen, i.e., Viv Richards.
It is said that the key for any underdog to rise up is a belief that they can do it. This Indian team didn’t have that belief. They had the experience of Mohinder Amarnath and Sunil Gavaskar, they had the talent of Kapil Dev, but still, as a team, that fire was missing. They were still scared of the Garners and the Roberts. After beating West Indies in the first match itself, they went on to lose two consecutive matches. The print media declared the first win as a fluke. The commentators thrashed India with words that wounded the self-respect of each and every player. Journalist David Firth had said that he would eat his words if India won the World Cup. The spectators didn’t find it worth buying tickets for a team that amounted to nothing.
An Innings That Changed Everything
India was in a terrible position in front of the Zimbabwean team. It was important for the team to win the match in order to stay alive in the tournament. A fretted Kapil Dev walked in with a lot to prove. He was a man of few words and only believed in giving a befitting reply through his game. He broke the world record and scored 175 runs. Kapil Dev not only won the match for his team but brought about a change in perspective. The team realized that they had the capability actually to do it, no matter what anybody said. They were riding on this newfound spirit that was lit by a mad person named Kapil Dev, who could see what nobody could.
From there on, the team shed off its fears and spread its wings to accept the glory that was destined for them. The underdogs who didn’t even receive proper transportation when they reached England, who were not given the authorization to enter Lords (cricket stadium) because of a presumption that they would not reach the final that was going to be played there, who were surviving on miserly daily pay, who were fighting their own people, who thought they were good for nothing, went on and showed the world that if you believe it, then nothing in this world is impossible.
’83’ Film Review- The Complex Art Of “Build-Up.”
In films like ’83, it is very important that apart from the performances and a touching narrative, the director efficiently strategizes the build-up that leads to the epic finale. When you need to touch the emotional chords, then you have to be very careful about the screenplay, the effectiveness of the dialogs, and the usage of the background score. In my personal opinion, ’83 tries to go from one high to another. They want to give you goosebumps in every scene. They want to play the background score from the onset until the end. Not denying the fact that the film does make you emotional, but the efficacy of the climax is highly reduced in such cases.
When Captain America says “Avengers Assemble,” then your emotions that were held up for so long, break loose. You see a narrative cycle getting completed there because of the creative structuring done efficiently. But in ’83, it reached that pinnacle before the final act. There were scenes that I felt could have been more effective, and decisions on the editing table could have been sharper. But then again, this does not take anything from the fact that Kabir Khan has been able to pull off a film that, irrespective of its shortcomings, gives you a lump in your throat and recreates a world where the laws of nature were defied, and a team of eleven rose from the ashes and soared high.
With electrifying performances, especially by Ranveer Singh as Kapil Dev and Jiiva as Krishnamachari Srikkanth, a touching background score, and the little nitty gritties that tell us the story of what happened behind the scene, 83 is a must-watch for every individual irrespective he or she likes or doesn’t like watching cricket.
’83 is a 2021 Indians Sports Drama Biopic directed by Kabir Khan.