New Delhi: It was a big responsibility to embody a “living legend” like cricketer Kapil Dev in 83, actor Ranveer Singh said Sunday in conversation with ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta and Principal Correspondent Purva Chitnis on ‘Off The Cuff’.
“To embody a living legend was a huge honour for me and a big responsibility too, which I understood all too well. All my cricket friends were like, ‘You’re playing Kapil, you better get it right’,” Singh said as he spoke about his film that was released on 24 December.
Director Kabir Khan’s sports drama is a retelling of the Indian Men’s cricket team’s journey to win the 1983 World Cup.
“Everyone will applaud Kabir Khan and his fine detail. My endeavour was also to put such a level of detail in the film that even Kapil would say ‘Man, you did me better than me’,” Singh said.
Singh spoke about the challenges of emulating one of India’s most famous cricket stars, who is still alive, unlike the subjects of most other biopics.
“Up until now I was creating characters, which was a different set of challenges, I can’t say one was easier than the other. Here, there are set parameters. Everybody has known and experienced Kapil Dev. There is a reference point. So it was a new challenge but I embraced it,” he said.
Singh added that 83 is a film for everyone. “Even if you don’t know cricket, you can connect with emotions. It’s an underdog story, a story of self belief and triumph. But if you know your cricket, it’s another trip altogether,” he said.
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Relish these challenges
Asked how he becomes the person he plays on screen, be it getting into the skin of the characters such as Alauddin Khilji in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat (2018) and Kapil Dev now, Singh said that has always been his endeavour.
“From playing a demonic villain to a talismanic captain, I relish these challenges. For me, fulfillment comes when I am able to achieve diversity,” said Singh.
Asked what drives him to work in the competitive film industry and whether box office is enough for his passion, Singh said: “Artists are not defined by box office collections. I don’t concern myself with box office collections beyond a point. What gets me is the everlasting love and value — a film that you can see anytime and it will still make you laugh or cry or entertain you.”
He added: “Our film was released Saturday and till now I haven’t asked how much our first day collection was for 83. Even one of my cast members was asking me that but I said I don’t know.”
On awards and recognition, the actor said he would love to receive them but for him the process is more valuable.
“If somebody is offering praise or recognition, it’s most welcome. However, for me, the process is most rewarding. I attach value to the process and detach myself from the result. There’s a line in Gully Boy — ‘koi dusra batayega meko main kaun hai (will someone else define who I am)’,” he said.
“I am probably the hungriest right now. Even after 10 years, I am becoming more obsessed with this craft, I want to explore more. I want to do things that haven’t been done before,” Singh said on his journey in Bollywood.
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