Everyone has been looking forward to 83 ever since it was announced. The release was delayed due to the pandemic but the makers stuck to their guns about releasing 83 in theatres. Many were sure this film would see an OTT release but that was not to be. Finally, 83 released on Christmas Eve in cinemas across India in 2D and 3D. And after watching this 3-hour long film, one thing is certain–Kabir Khan and his team have made sure that the final product was well worth the wait.
One can sense the impending euphoria even as the film begins. After all, we know what happened in 1983. But it is difficult not to give in to the emotion of 83. While the story was powerful from the beginning, the execution has taken 83 to a level of cinema that Indian audiences had long been deprived of. Real footage of the Indian team at the 1983 World Cup, interspersed with each moment’s cinematic representation, makes the film exhilarating in surprising bursts. Had this film released pre-Covid, there would be a party in every hall, at every showing in this cricket-obsessed country. Even now, I suspect 83 will make people forget, albeit for three hours, the dark times we are living in right now.
The emotions can catch you by surprise. You might end up wiping away tears while you’re standing in line for popcorn during intermission. For millennials and Gen Z-ers, who were either too young or did not exist in 1983, this film is the perfect recreation of one of the greatest moments in Indian sporting history.
Like every good sports film, there are touches of well-timed humour in 83. Ammy Virk, Pankaj Tripathi, Jatin Sarna, and of course, Ranveer Singh add subtle comedy in the film that does not seem misplaced or unnecessary at any point.
Ranveer Singh as Kapil Dev hits the ball out of the park, quite literally. There were doubts initially of Ranveer Singh making the cricket legend look satirical, but he is a delight to watch on screen. But he is not the only one to watch out for in 83. Ammy Virk, Hardy Sandhu, Jatin Sarna, Saqib Saleem and every other actor in the film hold their ground and do justice to their characters. But if you’re going to watch 83 for Deepika Padukone, you might be disappointed. As expected, her role isn’t much in the film since the focus, after all, is Kapil Dev.
It’s easy for a film like 83 to go over the top with its dramatic moments but nothing about it feels overdone. From the tear-jerking moments to the big victory, every incident gets the attention it deserves. Nothing more, nothing less. The soundtrack is almost perfect for a sports film, and that is a huge relief from the current crop of remixes that make little sense.
83 is a much-needed breath of fresh air for audiences who have faced a barrage of senseless propaganda from Bollywood lately. This is just the kind of film Indian audiences needed to end a difficult year.
While going to a movie theatre is still risky, 83 is an experience in the hall. We cannot encourage you to go to a movie theatre at the moment but when you can safely watch this film, don’t miss it.
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