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83 Recreates Cricketing History In Vivid Strokes

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‘83

Starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone , Pankaj Tripathi

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Directed  by  Kabir Khan

Rating: ****

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Good Lords!  By the time the climactic  photo-finish  match at the posh Lords  stadium unravels in all its historically astute glory, the  audience is so invested  in   the film it feels like  the  entire slab of sports  history has been effortlessly converted  into the  crisp currency  of cinematic  history.

You don’t really have  to be a cricket fanatic  to  understand how  important the 1983 World cup victory was  for India  and Indians. Even Mrs Indira Gandhi, then ruling country with iron hands, realized  how vital it was for our boys to bring that  Cup back.

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Somewhere in the course of  the undulating  though  well-balanced and  authentic storytelling (script by  Kabir Khan, Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan, Vasan Bala)  the formidable Mrs G is  heard telling her cowering cabinet, “Let there be  a television set  in every home to watch  the  World Cup  so that the nation’s attention can be diverted from political issues.”

don’t know how accurate these assumptions so  nimbly knitted  into Kabir Khan’s  gamely yarn of  the World Cup’s  power and reach are. But the film makes  you want to believe in its strikingly nationalist  assumptions.

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There is  a  sense of  imminent  urgency and  unquestionable credibility  cutting through the  sports drama, as though to celebrate  and  mock the  sports tropes at   the same time.

We  don’t really know if all the events   so charmingly  described in the film, leading up to the  victory, actually happened. Even if some of this is  conjectural  creativity,  there is  absolutely no  way one  can question  the narrative’s right to  interpret  sports history  as it thinks right, as long as  the final  triumph is not diluted  or compromised.

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An unflinching  propriety  manned by masterstrokes  of  effortless candour  and  underscored  by Julius Packium’s crowd-friendly background score, run  through the  saga bringing back  to us the  great  1983  victory with a vividness we have  not experienced before in any sports drama. Of course  Ashutosh  Gowariker’s Lagaan and Shimit Amin’s Chak De were  great films delineating the  complex  relationship  between sports and politics  in a nation where every citizen  is a  potential score keeper  if not a  game player .

 Kabir Khan cleverly  kicks into India’s obsession with cricket and eventually turns an underdog saga into a triumphant  tale  unforeseen heroism. The  casting  of  the cricketers, so crucial to the  efficacy  of  the end-product,  is almost impeccable. Jiva as Srikkant and  Amy Wirk as Balwinder Sandhu are  notably  effective. Some  of the  other players specially Sunny Gavaskar and Sandeep Patil are  not so well-played.Pankaj Tripathi as  the  team’s  manager manages  to be characteristically  spot-on. But  Deepika Padukone as  Romi  Kapil Dev is quite unnecessary.

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 What  works wonderfully  in  the  film’s favour is  the team’s commitment  to getting  it right. The matches look authentic. Cameo appearances  by Kapil Dev and Lala Amarnath  do not  appear gimmicky. No one is in this  for attention. There is  a sense  of  profound  commitment  underlining even the most  crowdwooing  moments, such as  that recurring visual of  a  little  boy with his father rooting for Kapil, or Boman Irani as  a radio commentator  sobbing at the end.

This  is  not a film to be taken  lightly.  It is relevant and  historic  and  yet it  succeeds  in not  being selfimportant.  Standing tall  at the  apex  of the   drama is Kapil Dev, the affable desi captain  of  the  team, so kind and yet a  born leader.

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I looked for Ranveer Singh  in  83 . But I couldn’t find him.

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Shabana Azmi Breaks Her Wrist, Flies To  Budapest For Spielberg

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Shabana Azmi

Shabana Azmi’s commitment to  getting it right, no matter what it takes, is  by now beyond legendary. She  is known to go to extreme lengths for her  characters, the   quick-reference what-Shabana-can-do-for-a-role film being Shyam Benegal’s  Mandi where she had put on 30 kgs to look like  a  ‘Madame’ and  convey her message  in  a  brothel.

 Now , Shabana  flies to Budapest on the  night  of 8 February  in spite  of having broken her wrist.

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“What  to  do, I have to.I’ve to shoot another schedule  of my second season of  Halo(the series  produced by  Steven Spielberg) . There is no way I can postpone  it. I am very upset with myself. It  was such an  unnecessary accident. I was in Jindal . I took a jump and landed with a  fractured wrist, ”  says Shabana  angrily.

This is not  the first fracture that Shabana has suffered in recent times. Before  the wrist  that’s broken now, she  had broken the other wrist. And  prior to that she  had broken her shoulder.

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“I’m supposed to be  shooting till the 28th  of February. And  it’s all very tough physically rigorous  scenes. I don’t know  how I’m going to do it. I am  really annoyed  with  myself for  being careless.” Shabana sighed  before signing  off.

Knowing her the way I do,I can only say, nothing is impossible for Shabana Azmi.

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Shobita Dhulipala On Her Close Aquatic Connection To Her Character In The Night Manager

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Shobita Dhulipala

Sobhita Dhulipala has constantly tried to  make an  impression  with her intriguing performances and roles. In The Night Manager she  slips into the mysterious role of Kaveri.

Talking about her character, Sobhita Dhulipala says , “There’s a certain intrigue to Kaveri. On better days, you feel like you get a sense of who she is, but you could never be too sure of what she is.”

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   Being a  water  person  Sobhita  enjoyed her character’s aqueous antecedents, “There is a very visible parallel that’s drawn between Kaveri and water throughout the show.They both can be so gentle, so nourishing, but also very tumultuous and deep. Kaveri seems like that. She has this tenderness as well as a current within her.”

Sobhita comes from an aquatic  family and  feels  a deep affinity  to  water. “I have in the past been compared with water’s energy and I thought it was a tremendous compliment. So, to be able to give form to that feeling, that connection I feel with it..it’s great. My father is a sailor. And I spent many of my younger years at sea, also the home I grow up in was by the shore. I also love the name Kaveri and I always thought when I have my own child, I’d name him/her by a river! So, I think there’s, resonance, all of it really comes together for me.”

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The Romantics Adi Chopra’s Show All The Way

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The Romantics 

Netflix’s The Romantics profiling the legend Yash Chopra in four episodes , happened only because Netflix  gave complete creative control to  Yash Chopra’s son Aditya Chopra,  the scion of the Yash  Raj family.

A  source very close to  the project reveals, “If it wasn’t for Adi’s nod, the project  wouldn’t have happened. He not only greenlighted the project, he also personally supervised every aspect of the project. Smriti Mundhra is  on board as the director of The Romantics.  But it is  Adi who decided what  goes, and what  not.”

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Apparently  the  thirty-five interviewees speaking on  Yash Chopra in The  Romantics  were all  personally approved  by Adi Chopra who  also agreed to do his  first video interview ever for the docu-pic on his distinguished dad.

Adi Chopra’s one  and  only print interview was with  film critic/editor  Khalid Mohamed.

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The Romantics starts streaming on Netflix on Valentine’s Day  February 14.

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I’m very excited to be doing my OTT debut: Shahid Kapoor

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Shahid  Kapoor

As Shahid  Kapoor Gets Ready To Make  His Digital Debut, He Takes Time  Off  For A Q & A With  Subhash K Jha

Farzi is your first foray into the OTT space. How would you describe the experience? Is it any different from doing the films for the big screen?

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 I’m very excited to be doing my OTT debut, as everybody calls it. I think I did it because I love  the directors Raj and DK and their work, and I actually really really liked the idea and the concept behind Farzi, the world of counterfeiting . I felt Sunny was a character that was as challenging as some of my most challenging characters as I’ve done yet. So I immediately wanted to do it.

And was it any different  shooting for an OTT series?

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Of course, it’s different because you’re watching the character over five to six hours as opposed to maybe two to two and a half hours. So it’s a deeper, wider opportunity to bring a character to life, that’s it.

 Farzi gave you the opportunity to work with the great Vijay Sethupathi and also the creators Raj and DK. So what was that experience like?

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With Raj and DK, I’ve loved Family Man very much and we’ve met over time and always wanted to collaborate. So I was really looking forward to it. In fact, I asked them if they have a show because they were calling me for a movie because they didn’t really expect… they didn’t think after Kabir Singh,  I’d like to do something like that , or whatever. But I actually asked them for it and probed  for it, and then they actually told me about this concept which we had discussed as a movie earlier.

So why  was the feature   film converted  into a digital series?

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It was just too elaborate to turn into a movie, to fit into a movie. It was only extremely sensible of them to turn it into a show because it deserves that much screen time.

What  was it like working with Vijay Sethupathi?

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With Vijay sir, it’s been a pleasure. And I want to see how people receive the show. He’s a fantastic actor who has always rediscovered himself and given people completely different experiences when he has come on the big screen. So it’s a privilege to have him on the show. And I had a blast working with him.

Shahid, it’s been twenty years since you started as a leading man. How do you look back on your career so far?

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I feel very fortunate to still be here. And I feel grateful that people find my work relevant. I feel there’s a lot more that I would like to do. And I think I am as charged as I was at the age of 21, giving my first shot, as I am today. And I think that’s the best part of the entire journey, that I still am as excited and as curious to get on that film floor and give my next shot. I think that’s what drives any artist.

Tell me about your forthcoming projects?

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I’ve got Farzi coming out on  10 Feb. And then there’s a movie with Ali Abbas  Zafar, which is an action thriller, a  slick action fun film, which will come out in the middle of this year. And then there’s a high-concept quirky love story that I’m doing with Maddock Films, which is directed by a new director. His name is Amit Joshi. It has me and Kriti Sanon in it, and Dharam ji and Dimple ma’am and various other very talented people.

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