Filmmaker Kabir Khan has opened up on his upcoming film 83 where he chronicles the journey of Indian cricket team, led by former Indian captain Kapil Dev, to the first ever victory at ICC World Cup in 1983. Kabir also talked about visiting Kapil in Delhi, prepping Ranveer Singh for the role and how the actor performed.
Speaking with Neha Dhupia on her chat show No Filter Neha, Kabir said, “What happens is, specially when it’s a peculiar accent, the danger is that you can easily make it caricaturish and that was the big trap for us. Do we fall in that trap and end up caricaturing Kapil Dev? The credit is totally to Ranveer and that is something as a director I could only observe and see and comment is it right or wrong, the process of getting that is totally Ranveer’s.”
Praising Ranveer, Kabir said, “Ranveer is an actor has realized on this course of journey that he loves the process, he loves as an actor the process of getting into a character, he is not very happy if he it’s a character he can’t do much about and he just has to get on to the set. So, for him, this was a challenge. The process and complete and total immersion into the project, when he is in the project he doesn’t like looking left or right, he just is in that project, eating, breathing, sleeping that character. Everybody took on the mantle of the character they were representing, So, Ranveer truly became the captain of that team.”
He also talked about his first visit to the house of Kapil in Delhi. “Romiji (Kapil’s wife Roni) and Kapil Dev are just the most gracious hosts, They would always say, ‘our house is always open for you’. A lot of people say that and I don’t think you are supposed to take that seriously. But Ranveer and I just landed there. It was fabulous to be able to trail Kapil Dev everywhere. I remember when Ranveer Singh went like, ‘sir, hum beth jayenge, aap meeting kariye (we will wait, please continue with your meetings), we’ll be fly on the wall’. He said, Ranveer Singh mere kamre mein betha hai toh koi fly on the wall nahi hone wala. Like, koi meeting nahi hogi (How can meetings take place here when Ranveer Singh is sitting in my room?)”
About the visit, Ranveer had earlier told Hindustan Times in an interview, “Kapil sir and his family are very warm, kind and generous people. I’ll be ever grateful to them for being so magnanimous in helping me during this unique character study. Their large-heartedness was touching… something I’ll never forget. They’ve blessed me.”
Kabir also praised Ranveer’s grasping skills and said the actor internalised the cricketer’s body language within days. “I think it was a very important stage for our prep, those two weeks that we spent over there (with Kapil) specially for Ranveer, is what really made all the difference in the film. Of course, not taking anything away from Mr Gaikwad, who has done the look for the film. People are asking how did Ranveer Singh end up looking exactly like Kapil Dev. Of course,it’s what we have done in terms of make-up, it is also expressions and that is those 10-14 days is what Ranveer really caught on.”
“I told Ranveer right in the beginning of the film that it’s not a look-alike contest you know, its not about how close you are gonna look like Kapil Dev. In 10 minutes, the audience needs to forget that its Ranveer Singh and you need to go with the character,” he added.
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Initially slated for an April release, 83 was postponed due to the lockdown and ongoing pandemic. With the reopening of theatres across India, the film is now slated to hit theatres on Christmas. “83 is once in a lifetime story. I often say that sometimes I feel that you don’t choose stories, stories choose you. Why, for the last 37 years, was the story not made, it’s staring us in the face? It waited 37 years for me, for whatever reason, and I’m really glad it did. So, it’s a once in a lifetime story and it’s been designed for the big screen. We were very sure that for’83 every cinema hall is going become to a stadium. So, I don’t want to rob myself and the audience of that experience, I am gonna wait. I’m an optimist and I know this lockdown is here and this virus is not going away in a hurry but I think we are patient people, we’ll sit, we’ll wait, nothing’s gonna change. ‘83 is a about story that happened after 37 years ago, we can see it 38 years later also,” Kabir said.
83 also features Ranvee’s real life wife Deepika Padukone as his onscreen wife Romi. It also stars R Badree, Dhairya Karwa, Adhinath Kothare, Ammy Virk, Sahil Khattar, Harrdy Sandhu, Nishant Dahiya, Dinker Sharma, Chirag Patil, Jatin Sarna, Saqib Saleem, Jiiva, Tahir Raj Bhasin and Ranveer Singh.
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