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Movie review / “`83” (PG)

“`83” (PG) ***

HERE’S the Internet Movie Database synopsis for this film: “On the 25th of June 1983, the Lord’s Cricket Ground witnessed one of the biggest underdog stories in the history of sports. 

“Fourteen inspired men fought against all odds and orchestrated India’s greatest sporting triumph by beating the twice-over world champions West Indies! This victory put India on the map again and provided the platform to make India the greatest cricketing nation in the world today. Armed with self-belief and conviction, one man guided the team to a historic victory.”

When the facts get separated from the hubris, what remains is this.

“On the 25th of June 1983, the Lord’s Cricket Ground witnessed India’s beating the twice-over World Champions West Indies.”

Directed by Kabir Khan, “`83” is a corner of more than just cricket history. Watching it, I wondered who would be its intended audience. Top of the list would be the citizens of the world’s second-most-populous nation, at home or abroad. Next might be cricket fans not only from 38 years ago but perhaps also younger. The rest – well, who can conjecture what cohort of the world’s moviegoers might want to see it.

And what would they see? It’s colourful. The game sequences patently are TV footage. The dramatic context, on and off the field, might interest playing and watching buffs.

I like watching cricket. I played only once after completing school, an intra-Departmental where I scored nine, took a nifty one-handed catch and was told never again to try to bowl. I enjoy how the game has grown and extended its ambit – women’s teams, white balls, short-match forms, under lights. And undeniable skills extending beyond physical boundaries.

The film’s depiction of India’s people’s responses to the team’s progress to the top of the competition may be, well, a little over the top.

But what dismayed me most about it as a cinema experience was the sound. For which of several possible causes, I have no way of knowing; much louder than comfortable, a roar of just about every kind of human and environmental noise.

At Dendy

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Dougal Macdonald

Dougal Macdonald

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