I think we are now under more pressure than in 1983: Chirag Patil
They shocked and surprised the world with their unknown and unprecedented World Cup victory in 1983. However, according to former cricketer Sandeep Patil, even today, when the mid-order hitter and his team sit down to discuss the story they created. That year, they wonder how they managed to achieve victory. And now, 37 years later, Sandeep's son, Chirag, is preparing to recreate that same magic on the silver screen. In a sincere conversation with Pune Times, the son talks about putting on his father's shoes, literally, in ‘83, while the father spills the beans on one of the best cricket teams in India.
In 1983, the Indian team was considered the loser in the World Cup. Do you think the lack of expectations played a role in the victory of the team?
Sandeep: We raided the world in 1983. We were there to play the tournament and enjoy good cricket. That was the mood of the team, we wanted to feel the World Cup and play in London. In the 1970s, India did not perform well in the World Cup, so nobody expected anything from us. I think that turned out to be an advantage for all of us because there was no additional luggage we carried. We had no confidence that we would win any match. However, both the start and the end were great. I remember that in the west there was a shock wave, and everyone said how did this happen? We beat the West Indies in the first game, and then again in the final. That was something phenomenal. Even today, when we discuss it with friends and team members who played ‘83 games, we still wonder how we did it. And it wasn't just one match: each match saw incredible performances from different players. It was a real team.
Chirag: I think we are now more pressured than they are then. All actors are playing characters that have achieved so much in their lives and we have a lot of responsibility to do them justice. All of us are going through a roller coaster of emotions right now, while we think whether we will meet people's expectations or not.
Sandeep, on a scale of 1 to 10, how accurate do you think Chirag looks on the first poster?
Sandeep: Well, there is asli and there is nakli. I thought, yeh nakli kya karega, but I have to accept that after seeing the first look, the nakli looks asli. I'm his biggest critic, but I have 100% confidence that he has done a great job like me in the movie.
Chirag: When the first look came out, I realized that I looked at my father. I have the advantage of a champion's DNA (laughs). I'm more excited to see myself in the movie and I'm pretty sure I've done a good job in the movie since my father and I have no doubt about it.
Chirag, how much preparation did it take you to achieve the look and hone your batting skills to match your father's?
Chirag: It took me more than four hours and more practice each day, on a strict diet, to almost perfect my father's appearance and skills.
Sandeep: Interestingly, while the cast practiced very hard and followed a strict diet, we never did such a thing to win the World Cup. In fact, all team members suffered an injury in those days and there was no physical therapy or luxurious facilities for today's players. If he was injured, the attitude was to take care of himself. Crying babies are not allowed! I've seen Kapil Dev inject himself in the knees and toes, while Mohinder Amarnath had stitches. Even Ravi Shastri received points without anesthesia. Before the World Cup, I had a rib fracture and could not tell the cricket board that I could not go. After all, I was representing my country. The rib injuries take four to five weeks to heal and I played the World Cup with one.
In 1983, Kapil Dev was an iconic figure and with this movie, there is a lot of emotion to see Ranveer rehearsing it on the screen. Do you think the movie will do justice to the rest of its characters ...?
Chirag: The 1983 match was never the victory of one man, it was the whole team and each player contributed in one way or another throughout the series. And the same has been shown in the movie too. The entire film is very well written and presented, and the true essence of team spirit manifests itself. This movie is more a human story than cricket and it was a challenge for Mr. Kabir to show that. One can see many cuts of the 1983 World Cup online. And people won't go to the theaters to see that. We have shown what happened behind the scenes and the stories that led the team to win the World Cup. So I think everyone will be excited to see each character and what happened behind the scenes, in the locker room, after the game, and that is what makes this movie different from other sports dramas. And the movie does justice to all incredible athletes.
Sandeep, you've seen the first glimpse of the cast, just as you met them off the screen. Seeing your representation of Team India brings back memories of those days?
Sandeep: After meeting the cast, I feel that his camaraderie is very similar. There are many masti and positive vibes of the cast. Kabir (Khan) and Ranveer (Singh) have a lot of credit for that. They are the real manager and captain of the ship. The cast is very natural; It seems that I have been with my team since 1983. All these are good actors and I realized that after seeing how well they all became their respective characters. Especially Ranveer, which looks as accurate as Kapil in the movie. Be Kapil's gestures; We have known each other for a long time and we play together. The way he sits, walks, talks and laughs: Ranveer has learned everything very well. Congratulations to him!
Chirag: All cast members appreciate my father very much and were hypnotized to hear stories from the 1983 team, especially the funny ones.
But the team seemed so serious back then ...
Sandeep: The 1983 team was divided into two groups: six of us were the sadhus (saints) and the other six, shaitans (demons). Kapil Dev was the captain of the sadhus and, unfortunately, I was the captain of the shaitans. My job was to entertain the whole team, because you can't talk about cricket 24x7. You have to take the pressure off. Kapil's advice was in English and we didn't follow anything. Whatever he talked about, we did the exact opposite. The elders, Mohinder Amarnath, Madan Lal and Sunil Gavaskar, were too serious, focused and disciplined. I feel that the worst is having Sunil Gavaskar as a roommate, and that is what I got! It behaves very well. I literally had to walk on tiptoe when I entered the room so as not to disturb him. I used to go back to the room late at night, and he read a novel and looked at me. Thank God, Pammi, Sunil's wife, arrived and they moved together later, while I moved with my favorite roommate, Ravi Shastri. Phir dhamaal shuru ho gayi! You need to find a balance. If you have eleven batters in the team, you will not win the game. You need a mixed bag of people. Now that we are all senior citizens, every time we meet, we carry the same spirit of sadhus and shaitans.
During filming, did you ever feel that a particular scene did not do justice to your father's character and told Kabir Khan to change it?
Chirag : I remember filming for one of the scenes in which I, like Sandeep Patil, had to enter the cricket ground for the first time. Kabir, sir, called me and asked me to check on the monitor if the scene looks good or not, or if the walk is like my father's, he said: you know it better. And I was surprised that being such a good filmmaker asked me for my opinion. I watched those scenes, rehearsed more and after spending hours I realized that I am close because my father's ride is a registered trademark.