As much as “83” presents the story of what went on in the field and the dressing room, it also offers a peek into the lives of the players off the field in their personal spaces.
Just as Deepika Padukone essays the role of Romi Dev, wife of the 1983 World Cup-winning squad’s captain, Kapil Dev, multi-lingual actress Wamiqa Gabbi steps into the shoes of Anu Lal, wife of Madan Lal, the medium pacer from Delhi who took three crucial wickets in that historic final. Gabbi’s fellow Punjabi actor, Harrdy Sandhu, plays Madan Lal.
Wamiqa recently spoke to IANS about her association with the film, director Kabir Khan’s briefing to her about the part and what the film means to her. Excerpts from the interview.
Recollecting how she became a part of the film, the actress said: “I remember getting a call from the office of Mukesh Chhabra (the casting director of ’83’). They wanted to come and have a word with me. That’s when I met them and was convinced at the very first meeting that I wanted to do this part because it was Kabir Khan and the film was about the 1983 Cricket World Cup. It is a historic event!”
About her pitching for the character, she said: “I was very nervous about playing Anu Lal and I wanted to portray her in the most natural way possible so that people can resonate with the character. I wanted to portray the emotions correctly and I hope people will like what I did.” Anu Lal, incidentally, is from the Mohan Meakin family.
Sharing Kabir Khan’s brief to her, Wamiqa said: “The wives of the cricketers appear for a very brief time in the film. He (Khan) explained to me the situation and how this cricketer’s wife must be feeling about her husband. It was not just a brief for my character. The film is such that once I heard about what all happened during the World Cup, I automatically understood the situation and acted accordingly.”
She revealed one of the key moments of the story. “This was part of my back story. Anu Lal conceived her first child during the 1983 World Cup and that was big for me,” Wamiqa said. “I was like, as a woman she must be feeling so vulnerable, that’s the reason you’ll see Anu Lal being very vulnerable in the film. These small bits of information about the character really helped.”
Asked what this film means to her career prospects, Wamiqa had an emotional answer. “Well, this film is a celebration of the 1983 World Cup. It’s a very special film to me. I didn’t think of this film as something that is going to help me in my career. I wanted to do this film, I wanted to be a part of this film because of its content, the message that it was trying to convey and celebrate.”
She added: “The kind of work that I am doing in the future, that’s the kind of work that will set the bar audience expectations. ’83’ is a very special film. I have done this film for completely different reasons and I am so proud to be a part of it. There is nothing else, there is no other reason for me to be a part of ’83’.”