By Chetan Sharma
New Delhi, Dec 25 (IANS) Bollywood sensation Ranveer Singh, who is getting love and appreciation from cricket and cinema fans alike for portraying Kapil Dev in ’83’, has revealed that it took him six months to perfect that famous backward-running catch, which was taken by the legendary cricketer to dismiss Sir Viv Richards off a Madan Lal delivery on June 25, 1983.
’83’ got a bumper opening at the box-office. And the Bollywood heartthrob is in awe after getting such a positive response from fans, and the “love and respect” that is being showered on the film from across the world.
Ranveer was in the national capital for the screening of ’83’ and IANS got the opportunity to speak to him. For the film, the versatile actor has stepped into the shoes of the legendary Indian captain and one of the greatest all-rounders, Kapil Dev.
The acclaimed actor is a shape-shifter who can perform any role with the same grace. From ‘Bajirao’, ‘Padmavat’, ‘Simmba’ and ‘Gully Boy’ to now ’83’, he has played diverse characters without any reference point whatsoever and has delivered the best performances. He has made his place as one of the best actors in the history of Indian cinema.
“Ranveer is not imitating Kapil, he is inhabiting [the character].” This message has been reverberating across social media, with netizens going gaga over his performance in ’83’.
“I am overwhelmed with the kind of messages I am getting right now. Everybody is liking the movie – Sunil Gavaskar sir, Madan Lal sir, Kapil sir, my guru Balwinder Singh Sandhu sir, PR Man Singh sir all have messaged and praised my work. What else do you want when such great personalities appreciate your work,” an emotional Ranveer told IANS.
The actor recalled the making of the film. He shared how Kabir Khan proposed the idea of inviting Kapil Dev and asking him to spend some time with the actor.
“I spent some time with Kapil sir in his house and he has such an impressive aura that people will fall in love with him. His smile, his laugh, his walk, his talk, his dance … yeah, he has such cute dance moves. I used to see what he was doing and what’s going on in his mind. What he might be thinking at that time in 1983. Watching him so closely helped a lot,” Ranveer said.
Asked what was the toughest part to learn, Kapil’s bowling style, his attitude or batting? The actor replied: “I used to play cricket in my school days and I was a very aggressive and impressive batter, also a good fielder. So batting wasn’t an issue. About acting, we are professionals, so that’s our job to get into the character.
“Yes, bowling was the toughest thing to learn. It took me several months … his wrist position, his iconic jump, rubbing the ball on the chest before delivering it, I remember Sandhu sir used to say, ‘Tickle the nipple, tickle the nipple’,” laughed Ranveer.
“Actually, my biomechanics differ from Kapil sir’s. I was coming from ‘Simmba’ (the movie) and had bulky muscles. So Sandhu sir told me to get into an athletic physique,” he added.
Quizzed about whether he finally managed to get some of the speed and outswing like the legendary all-rounder, Ranveer said, “Bahut stumps udaye maine fir to (I dislodged many stumps then). I can’t say about the swing, but I was bowling really well, hitting the wicket.”
Ranveer also shared his struggles to match Kapil Dev’s famous backward-running catch to dismiss Sir Viv Richards, which clinched India’s win in the nail-biter of a final at Lord’s.
“It took me six months to get it perfectly done. The catch was tough running backward. So, Sandhu sir used to throw the ball and I had to run and take it,” he said. Asked if it was a leather ball or not? Ranveer replied, “Yeah, it was a leather ball only.”
He added: “I practised it several times and Sandhu sir then used to give me six overs to bat as a consolation prize, which I loved the most. I was given a target and I have to chase it down. It was fun,” he added.
Kapil’s innings of 175 against Zimbabwe didn’t get recorded because the BBC staff were on strike that day. How tough was it to learn about the minutiae of the great innings?
“It was no doubt difficult because there was no video recording of it. And I at the same time feel bad for Kapil sir. It was one of the best innings in cricket history. And now people, only after watching the movie, are appreciating the scene and figuring out how it was done at that time,” Ranveer concluded.