Sandeep Patil was a part of India's World Cup-winning team in 1983 as a middle-order batsman. Thirty-six years later, his son Chirag will play his dad onscreen in Kabir Khan's sports drama,'83 and recreate cricketing history. Chirag who has played roles in 11 Marathi and Hindi films, can't wait to take the field under Ranveer Singh who is stepping into captain Kapil Dev's shoes. "I'm really excited, the '83 World Cup win is considered a milestone in Indian history and to be a part of that team is a dream come true and playing my father who's my hero is just awesome. I don't think any actor has ever played his father on screen, I'm a first," he beams, adding that since she heard of the film, it's been his mother Deepa's dream that he play his father. "Luckily, I landed the part."
Patil Junior has never played cricket professionally, admits he was a little nervous initially but once he started practising, his father's stance and the way he played his shots, came naturally to him. "Ballu uncle (Balwinder Sandhu) and his team have been training us since August. I also took some training sessions at Chandrakant Pandit's Cricket Academy (CPCC) whenever free time. The best cricket coach in India stays in my house and that's a big help. Right now the focus is to train well and get my father's style right." And after that? "Sachin Tendulkar had once told me, give your best and leave the rest to God. I follow that philosophy," he smiles.
His father reveals that since his birth 31 years ago, he's told his son many stories. "And every time we would talk about the World Cup victory, Chirag's eyes would light up. From the first match to the finals and the after-party, I've shared so many memories with him," he informs.
Sandeep played the World Cup with broken ribs. In the finals against West Indies, only three sixes were hit by India, one of them by him. He scored 27 from 29 balls in India's score of 183. The Windies were bowled out for 140. Soon after, Vijay Singh offered him the male lead in a Hindi film, Kabhie Ajnabi The, opposite Poonam Dhillon and Debashree Roy. India's wicketkeeper, Syed Kirmani, played the antagonist. Shooting began in 1983 and the film released two years later to sky-high expectations thanks to a fight sequence between Sandeep and Kirmani and the hit song, "Geet Mere Hothon Ko Dey Gaya Koi" but it eventually. He hasn't been seen on screen since but he has some tips for his actor son. "Getting a chance and getting a stage to perform is a big deal, not everyone gets the opportunity and that too with a director like Kabir Khan and a big production house. Now, the ball is in Chirag's court and I wish him all the best. I won't visit him on the set but I have shown him how to match my signature shots."
Chirag rues the fact that he never saw his dad play as he had retired before he was born. "But I've heard stories about his batting, his personality and his life. He was a legend!" he asserts, pointing out that at the time there no social media or PR. "Yet even today, wherever he goes, in India or abroad, people chase him for a selfie. He's a superstar and one can only imagine his on-field hammering for people to remember it 36 years later."
Quiz him on his bonding with the film's team and Chirag exults, "Ranveer is a beautiful human being and I'm very excited to be working with him. I have a lot to learn from his hard work, humility, energy and dedication. He is the first on the field and the last to leave. There are several talented actors in the cast and it will be a blast shooting with them and Kabir who makes every actor so comfortable. It will be fun lifting the World Cup for the country again."
While Ranveer Singh will play the lead, the film will be backed by a powerful support cast. The casting of the other cricket players will be announced soon.
There has been immense excitement amongst the audience to witness the magnificent event to be recreated on the silver screen.
Earlier, the makers hosted an event to announce the film along with the entire former team that lifted the world cup in 83.
Directed by Kabir Khan, the sports film will bring to light one of the most important event in Indian cricket history. The film will be shot at real locations and will be going on floors early next year.
Presented by Reliance Entertainment and Produced by Madhu Mantena, Vishnu Induri & Kabir Khan.