Cricket and films are two of the biggest entertainers in India, so naturally, when a film on India’s 1983 World Cup win is being made, everything has to be just right. And that is precisely what director Kabir Khan aims to do for his eponymous film titled ’83. He has roped in the legendary cricketers Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath and Srikkanth — who were part of the winning team — to train the reel team. Actor Ranveer Singh, who is essaying the role of cricketer Kapil Dev, who led the team to victory back then, has in fact moved into Kapil’s home in Delhi to observe the cricketer’s daily routine that will help him get into his character with ease.
Mohinder Amarnath training actor Saqib Saleem
Director Kabir Khan explains, “It has to be as authentic as possible. It’s about living legends that people recognise. Who doesn’t recognise Kapil Dev, the way he talks and walks? If I want Ranveer (Singh) to be portraying Kapil Dev, I want him to be as close as possible to Kapil’s persona and who better than the man himself to show the way.”
In the past, movies on living personalities such as Azhar (on Mohammad Azharuddin) and MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (on MS Dhoni) have been made. However, the players then were not so involved in training the actors.
So is it necessary to bring on real cricketers for training the star cast?
“When we make a biopic, we don’t necessarily have those people around or they might not be participants in the film. But right now, we are really privileged. These legends are here and an integral part of our process. During training, we spent hours with them, talking to them about their experiences and learning from their excitement,” shares Kabir, who confidently adds, “When Kapil Dev trains an actor to be Kapil Dev, how can he go wrong?” So how much influence do these personalities wield on the creative calls taken by the filmmaker?
“They don’t get into giving creative inputs on how the film should be made. They are just helping us as much as they can. Whatever information and exposure we need, they are giving it to us,” says Kabir.
Kabir, whose last film on the silver screen was Tubelight, also asserts that he is aiming for nothing less than perfection