'83' was released in theatres this Friday in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada. Let's find out whether it is worth a watch.
The film is a visual and dramatic telling of the unanticipated victory of the Indian cricket team in the World Cup of 1983.
The captain of the team, Kapil Dev (Ranveer Singh), is saddled with a hardly motivated team. How he rises to the occasion and makes India victorious is the tale of the film.
The film is enriched by largely honest performances that go a long way in making the audience relate to the emotions that engulfed the nation back in 1983. Ranveer Singh's Kapil Dev is obviously the most visible of the performances. An ensemble cast makes this a well-acted movie.
However, there is a minus. The dubbing hits choppy waters a lot many times. The dialogues don't hit home because of this, so also the small performances.
The film needed a certain kind of uplifting score and Julius Packiam's BGM does that in some scenes. It's not consistently great. The score is undone by the director's lack of vision.
The cinematography by Aseem Mishra is excellent, making the film look expansive. Nitin Baid's editing doesn't feel jerky. This is what a sports tale required.
The screenplay writers (Kabir Khan, Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan and Vasan Bala) had the tough task of pleasing India's demanding cricket lovers. After all, most cricket buffs are aware of the nail-biting nature of the final match of the 1983 World Cup. Therefore, humanizing the lionized team was the main agenda of the movie.
The dialogues (Kabir Khan and Sumit Arora) sound endearing in important scenes. They are also riddled with a touch of contemporariness. The situations demanded better writing.
The first half is made plain by the one-note presentation of the team. The victories are unforeseen and massive, but the way the matches are played out, they feel less life-altering for the players. Kapil Dev suddenly looks involved and it is all artificially staged. At other times, he comes across as a semi-casual skipper of a flippant team.
The second half is a pack of some solid scenes. Although the Indira Gandhi episode is a bit sloppy in terms of writing and execution, the underlying emotion is felt by the viewer. '83' needed a couple of more such scenes to transport us to the India of the 1980s.
A scene involving Jiiva hits the bull's eye in the second half. The film would have done well with less entertainment, actually.
Despite several shortcomings, '83' sails through. It is no cinematic marvel. At the same time, it makes for an okayish watch.