Though cricket is regarded as a religion in India, not many films have been made with the sport as the main theme. Debutant director Abrid Shine's 1983 is a tribute to a magician on the cricket pitch named Sachin Tendulkar and the film is truly a likeable one.
Rameshan (Nivin Pauly) was hooked on to the magic of cricket when he was barely ten years old. That was in 1983, when the underdogs, India, defeated the mighty West Indies to lift the cricket world cup at Lords. He was a good student until then but after that cricket took away all his time and he lost it all.
Now, this is one story that will easily send middleaged men on a nostalgic journey. For the rest of the world too, many of the scenes could be familiar in some way or the other. Those muddy fields where deadly bouncers were slammed to the fence, those days of fooling around with friends, being scolded by parents for being late and so on, well, it's all there to see.
It is the inherent honesty with which the film unveils that makes Abrid Shine's story and the script (cowritten by Bipin Chandran) genuinely appealing, though the writing is far from being called brilliant.
Pradeesh Varma's visuals are top notch. Gopi Sundar scores big time, especially with the terrific song Olanjalikkuruvi… rendered amazingly well by the legendary singers, P Jayachandran and Vani Jayaram.
The story has Sachin Tendulkar's cricketing journey as a parallel track and the fact that almost everyone in India loves the masterblaster, who retired from cricket last year, works big time. Though the film begins well, somewhere along the line things get a bit slowpaced. But the gripping second half leaves you wanting more. The film could remind you of the 2005 Bollywood film Iqbal for its feelgood factor, though the similarities in the story end there.
It is to the credit of the writers that every character in the film has been created with much care. Joy Mathew, Srinda Ashab, Anoop Menon, Jacob Gregory, Saiju Kurup, Nikki and Bhagath aka Kannan, the young boy who plays the budding cricketer needs special mention.
But then the real star of the film is Nivin Pauly, who makes a definite impression as a performer. It is a gutsy role to play for a star and his efforts have paid off very well for sure. The commitment of the youngster to do an evidently nonglamorous role and to play the various phases in the life of the character with maturity needs to be applauded.
1983 is a simple film with its heart in the right place. It may be far from perfect, but nostalgia and cricket have been mixed well here. The makers of this film needs a pat on their back for their sincerity.
Go for it!