Ranveer Singh to play Kapil Dev in film on India's 1983 World Cup win
What’s the story?
The success of sports biopics like Mary Kom, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, amongst others, have paved the way for Bollywood to venture further into the once-neglected genre.
The list is set to grow further with the addition of another film, set to be based on Indian cricket’s coming-of-age victory, the World Cup win of 1983. Ranveer Singh has been roped in to play the role of the captain, Kapil Dev, on the big screen.
Kabir Khan, who will direct the film, was quoted as saying in The Indian Express: “As a filmmaker, the journey to the  win filled with raw energy and sheer passion of that young Indian team is probably one of the most exciting stories I have worked on. And it’s great to have Ranveer come on board to play Kapil Dev, as honestly, I could see no one else for the role, ever since I started finalising the script.”
In case you didn’t know…
Biopics on cricketers have started gaining interest ever since the blockbuster success of MS Dhoni: The Untold Story last year. A docudrama-biopic on Sachin Tendulkar was released earlier this year, and another one on Jhulan Goswami, one of India’s greatest cricketers, titled ‘Chakdah Express’ could be released around the 2018 World T20.
The heart of the matter
The journey of the Indian team, underdogs in the 1983 World Cup, had all the ingredients of a Bollywood script, and Kabir Khan (of Ek Tha Tiger and Kabul Express fame) is all set to bring it on the big screen. Trade Analyst Taran Adarsh was the first one to confirm the news, tweeting out about the proposed project on Monday morning.
Earlier, Arjun Kapoor’s name was doing the rounds for Kapil Dev’s role, but ended up being overtaken by his close friend, Ranveer Singh, who was unanimously backed by the director, as well as the producer, Vikramaditya Motwane.
Motwane added that Ranveer would seamlessly fit into the role of the Haryana Hurricane, saying “if there is an actor who can do it, it is Ranveer”.
While further details of the movie are yet to be divulged by the production house, the film is likely to go on floors next year. Ranveer is currently generating ripples for his much-awaited role as Mughal King Alauddin Khilji in the period drama Padmavati, set to be released in December.
The 1983 win inspired a generation of youngsters to take up the game seriously, single-handedly kickstarting a wave of interest in cricket that has only grown further in the next two and a half decades. It is somewhat surprising that it took the industry so long to make a Bollywood flick out of the historic victory, a dramatic win for a nation that had, until then, struggled to make a huge impact on the cricketing world.
Several legendary cricketers, whose careers succeeded the 1983 win, have whole-heartedly admitted that Kapil’s Devils’ improbable win against West Indies inspired them to pursue the game professionally.
Ranveer Singh, known for his charming persona and infectious energy, does seem to be the perfect choice for the role. However, it’ll be interesting to see how he goes about preparing for it: Sushant Singh Rajput’s portrayal of MS Dhoni received rave reviews because of the manner in which he managed to admirably mimic Dhoni’s mannerisms and playing style. Hopefully, the versatile Ranveer can do justice to Indian cricket’s poster boy of the 80s.