Feb 3, 2014

Movie Review: "1983"

First of all let me say this, if you love cricket even the least little bit, go ahead and watch the movie; if you like any team sport, go and watch the movie; if you ever had to give in to parental pressure to give up a passion because of practical reasons, go and watch this movie and finally, if you like uplifting, clean entertainment, GO and WATCH this movie!!!

No police commissioner need be afraid of the message that this movie conveys to the masses, because 1983 is one thoroughly good movie with nary a new-gen kink in it. Ramesan (Nivin Pauly) watched team India lift the world cup in 1983. He was 10 at the time, just like another little boy watching the same televised game in Mumbai...

Abrid Shine, the director, professes to be a huge fan of the game and of the great little man who paved the way for a torrent of talent into the cricketing pitch. His passion for the game permeates the whole movie and seeps into the movie hall, creating waves of anticipation, despair, pride and joy in successive waves. I am sure that for all people of my generation (born around mid 1970s), this movie will be a huge nostalgia trip...

The whole cast and crew deserve kudos for their effort - I don't want to point out anyone from the lot. Santhakumari appears in just one scene with just one dialogue, but it will last a long time in one's memory - so what to say about the rest!

I won't give away the story, but I will tell you this: I think this movie is one of the best tributes one can offer to Sachin Tendulkar. Growing up, although I loved cricket I was never a huge Sachin fan. And unlike Ramesan in the movie, I didn't have a single poster of him in my room (well, I did have Nitish Bharadwaj in his Sri Krishna costume, but that's another story! :)). Even among cricketers, I liked cool, calm and debonair Dravid, and of late Captain Cool himself. I didn't care much about his burgeoning statistics, his notorious choking in the 90s or his slowing reflexes as long as team India was fighting it out in the middle.

Then tell me why I was blubbering away last November on the day he finally left the cricket pitch for good? Why did I have a tough time coping with my tears that blurred away the sight of his last speech? It's because Sachin Tendulkar is so much more than cricket - he is a model of a person who has dedicated his life to ONE thing and kept his head level in the huge success that came as the fruit of his dedication. I will be the first to admit that cricket comes very low in the list of "meaningful pursuits" in life. Among the celebrations before his last games, Sachin was gifted a painting in which he is depicted as Arjuna. My first reaction was "What?????" When I saw the elongated limbs and muscular torso of the image, I felt it was an insult to his low stature and boyish looks. But then I focused on Arjuna and what Lord Krishna taught him and came to realize that Sachin has actualized the teachings of the Gita in his life as closely as he can. He always put karma first and never thought about the fruits of his labor. In the midst of all the hullaballoo, he stayed centered and calm. All his frustrations were vented among his family and close friends. In fact no one has any bad words to say about him other than an old embittered "friend" who failed miserably because of the lack of the same values that Sachin stands for. The very fact of his conspicuous absence from lucrative liquor ads is a mark of his greatness, isn't it?

So there it is. I think Swami Vivekananda himself would be proud of this modern Indian karma yogi (after all, he was the one who advocated sporting activities for the Indian youth). And Abrid Shine has managed to capture that aspect of it in the portrayal of Ramesan, his ragtag team mates and his family. 

And please people, do stay in your seats till the credits are way into the middle. I lost part of the last scenes because I was left applauding in my seat while all around me people jumped up to go home. Ah well, this one is a certain addition to my DVD collection, so I can see it any number of times!

And no, time hasn't lessened the pain, because even after 2 months, watching Sachin's farewell had me weeping into my handkerchief all over again!

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