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1983, a World Cup winning story

Cricket
Last Updated : 20 October 2020, 07:49 IST
Last Updated : 20 October 2020, 07:49 IST
Last Updated : 20 October 2020, 07:49 IST
Last Updated : 20 October 2020, 07:49 IST

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If powerful dialogues immortalise films, then this line is sure to thrill the audience watching the Hindi flick 83, as and when it releases. “Hum maar ke marenge.” (We will die only after scoring runs).

Syed Kirmani, the former India wicketkeeper, said this to his skipper Kapil Dev, who sought support for his valiant fight against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup. The duo’s terrific rear-guard act is one of the many high points of India’s triumphant run in England.

It was an achievement that changed the face of Indian cricket. Naturally, when director Kabir Khan announced a film on India’s maiden cricket world title, there was a massive buzz around it. If not for the forced lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, 83 would have hit the theatres this week.

Last time a film on cricket captured the nation’s attention was MS Dhoni: The Untold Story. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s inspiring journey from a small town to World Cup glory was a big hit with the Millennials. They went through a gamut of emotions, watching the men-in-blue clinch the World Cup again after 28 years on the big screen.

For the same generation, knowledge of the ultimate underdog story of ‘Kapil’s Devils’ during the course of the Prudential World Cup is limited to the nostalgic nuggets from their elders - the scenes of Mohinder Amarnath’s jubilant run after the victory in the final and Kapil’s smiling face while receiving the trophy at the iconic Lord’s balcony.

“The movie is like a reincarnation of our achievement in 1983,” Kirmani tells DH. “We were the one of the weakest teams. Australia, the West Indies and England were ruling world cricket. We came to the tournament with no support staff or doctors. We didn’t have the help of technology. So we had nothing to lose and had a lot of fun playing the World Cup,” he recounts.

The film is sure to provide a nostalgic rush, feels the Padma Shri winner. “While the big names in the squad have rightly received immense fame, the lesser-known yet important members have almost gone into oblivion. The film recognises every single player’s effort,” he says.

83 is expected to have those typical riveting moments that sports-based movies thrive on. One episode to look out will be India’s come-from-behind win over Zimbabwe to enter the semifinal. India’s batting implodes. From 17/5 they recover slightly to 140/8 when Kapil joins hands with Kirmani.

With Kirmani holding one end, Kapil hammers 175 off 138 balls, studded with 16 fours and six sixes.

“The BBC, giving the excuse that two of the weakest teams of the World Cup were competing, didn’t broadcast the match. It is one of the greatest knocks of all time. One must not just see Kapil’s score but the situation from which he played the knock,” recollects Kirmani.

“In our 126-run stand, I made sure Kapil got most of the strike. The plan was to get a single off the first ball of the over and put Kapil on strike. I did just that,” said the 70-year-old, who remained unbeaten on 24 as India posted 266/8 and won by 31 runs.

“The film’s team has shot the scenes of the game at the Nevill ground in Tunbridge Wells, the original venue of the match. Sunil Gavaskar, who was present during the shoot, was mighty impressed with how the scenes have come out,” he says.

For Kirmani, who has played 88 Tests and 49 ODIs for India, it was all the more special that he received the best wicketkeeper award of the World Cup. He now eagerly awaits the release of 83.

“Myself, Mohinder Amarnath, Kapil and Sunil Gavaskar met the film’s members to help them with the mannerisms of the players. We told them about the funny incidents of our dressing room. The actor who plays my role looks almost like me. I feel the casting has been spot on. Now let’s see how the movie is,” he concludes.

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Published 16 April 2020, 18:24 IST

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