A landmark win for India, the 1983 Cricket World Cup story, is the stuff blockbusters are made of. Little wonder then, that this real life high-on-adrenaline-drama hit the second inning.. This Friday’s release 83, has set cash registers ringing and has lured even the covid-weary audience back to theatres.
The trend-setting movie’s celebration would be incomplete without giving due to the make-up artistes and actors who don the role. Here’s a quick reckoner to refer before you set your date with 83.
Mohinder ‘Jimmy’ Amarnath
Saqib Saleem, who plays the ‘Comeback King’ in 83 shares how playing the role of Vice-Captain Amarnath was a daunting dossier. “All those hours spent watching matches, analysing players’ game and crunching numbers were well worth it,” he tweeted. Former Indian team Vice-Captain Mohinder Jimmy Amarnath’s father Lala Amarnath was the first post-Independence Indian captain. Amarnath’s performance at the 1983 World Cup led to him winning the Man of the Match title in the semi-finals and the finals. His intuitive bowling only conceded 12 runs in 7 overs in a match against West Indies.
Sunshine, Little Master and Sunny. Many names but one face behind the genius. Sunil Gavaskar remains the batting hero for generation to come. Playing the legend is Tahir Raj Bhasin, who, in Gavaskar’s words: “He was standing next to me. I suddenly saw somebody very familiar standing next to me. He was standing exactly like I did. And then I realised he is playing me.”
Ravi Shastri, now a popular name in cricket, wasn’t selected for many important matches in the World Cup, but he did step in for Gavaskar for two matches. In the matches, he opened with Krishnamachari Srikkanth and this became a successful partnership that also led India to its win at the World Championship of Cricket (WCC) in Australia.
Shastri is played by actor Dhairya Karwa. Sharing his look in the film, 83 actor Ranveer Singh wrote: “BABYFACE ASSASSIN!!! The youngest gun amongst the Devils.”
Madan Lal’s character is moulded into singer Harrdy Sandhu. Interestingly, Sandhu, though now famous for his Bijlee song, has been part of the under-19 Indian cricket team and has played with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma.
Madan Lal consistently put his best foot forward during the 1983 tournament, especially in the qualification match against Australia wherein he took four wickets. With Roger Binny matching that, Australia left the pitch with a score of 129 all out.
To Lal’s credit, he dismissed Viv Richards on 33 off 28 balls.
Krishnamachari Srikkanth was the opening batsman for India at the 1983 WC and scored 38 runs in the finals against West Indies making him the top scorer. India defeated the defending champions by 33 runs.
Actor Jiiva, who plays Srikkanth, in a humble tweeted wrote: “I have decent cricketing skills and it is similar to Srikkanth sir’s idea of winging. The master hitsman coached me for the role saying paathukalaam va (‘Don’t worry, we’ll do it’).”
Balwinder Singh Sandhu
Balwinder Singh Sandhu played for two years but on 25 June, 1983, he clean bowled history. It was the finals against West Indies and a win would mean a hattrick for the team.
Sandhu pitched the ball that crashed into the stumps and dismissed Greenidge. Speaking of the moment, Sandhu recalled “Greenidge made the ball memorable by leaving it. He was deceived.” Ammy Virk plays Balwinder Sandhu in 83 and the latter’s grandson says that “it’s an all out Ammy
Jatin Sarna said that he had no idea about Yashij. “But after living his character in screen, I do feel the cricketer did not get his due he plays on-screen, citing that as his reason for hesitating to accept the role. Sarna then told DNA, “But after doing the film, I do feel that he hadn’t got his due.”
Sharma again emerged as the top scorer in the semi-finals against England and Amarnath believes that Sharma’s innings won them that match.
Sandeep Patil was known as the ‘night captain’ by the 1983 World Cup team and the players relied on him for everything off the pitch: from parties to fashion. Sandeep is in the unique position of being portrayed by his son Chirag Patil. Talking about the hardest part of preparing for the role, Chirag revealed: “Firstly, my dad’s stance, and secondly, his two different walks. He had a different walk for the field and another one for the evening.”
Actor Sahil Khattar recalled the moment he met Syed ‘Kiri’ Kirmani: “As we all can see that one common factor in both of us is our bald look. So when I met Kiri bhai for the first time, he reacted to me, saying, ‘Are! Kiri bhai!’ I said to him: ‘No sir, you are Kiri bhai’.”
Syed Kirmani was the team’s wicket keeper and took five catches in the match against Zimbabwe turning the tide heavily in India’s favour. India won the match by 5 wickets dismissing their opponents for a score a 155.
Actor Nishant Dahiya plays Binny in 83. “I suffered multiple injures on my wrist, ankle and knee from trying to mimic Binny’s ‘unorthodox’ style.I just failed initial attempts to get his bowling style. But encouragement from Kabir (Khan) and Sandhu Sir got me going,” he shared.
Kirti Azad took the formidable player Ian Botham’s wicket and the ball surprised even captain Kapil Dev. Azad revealed that after he dismissed Botham, the skipper asked him, “‘Well bowled, Kirti but tell me one thing, ball will either be low or it will turn. How was this ball low and turned?” Azad admitted he still doesn’t know how it happened.
Interestingly, Dinker Sharma did not get any role in the new release. “The casting directors thought I didn’t resemble any of the players. However, six months after the first audition, I was chosen to play Kirti Azad,” in his words.
Dilip Vengsarkar was injured in the match against West Indies when Malcolm Marshall’s ball hit his face. As a result, he missed the match where Dev hit the iconic 175. Sandeep Patil, in a social media post, shared that Vengsarkar got the nickname ‘Colonel’ after his century during the Mumbai VS Rest of India match at Nagpur in 1974. The commentator Late Lala Amarnath equated his style to that of Colonel CK Nayadu.
Adinath Kothare plays the Colonel on-screen.