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To see people cherishing 83 is the biggest payoff, says Tahir Raj Bhasin

The actor, who played Sunil Gavaskar in the film, explains why the film remains special despite underperforming at the box office.

Tahir Raj Bhasin in 83

Keyur Seta

Tahir Raj Bhasin played legendary batsman and former India captain Sunil Gavaskar in Kabir Khan’s cricket drama 83 (2021) and succeeded in incorporating his style and mannerisms in the portrayal.

Bhasin said the character was his most challenging yet as regards the physical part. “There were so many demands on your fitness, stance and walk,” he said. “Also, I am not from a cricketing background. I have never played professional cricket. I have played casual gully cricket. To go from a non-cricketer to playing Gavaskar was a huge challenge. It was also a responsibility because people are very critical, they compare a lot.”

Bhasin is happy with the response the film and his work has got. “I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the super responses that we have got for the film and how much people have appreciated Gavaskar. It was much more than I expected,” he said.

83 received high critical acclaim but the film did not do as well as expected at the box office. Asked if this affected him, Bhasin said, “For me, 83 was an emotional decision. The fact that the emotion is out there for the world to see is the biggest payoff for me. I wasn’t born in 83. But I have heard the stories so many times, repeated generation after generation, it almost feels like you have lived that celebration.”

He added, “Now you have it on celluloid. And to have your parents, friends and family cherish for the rest of my life is the biggest payoff. In a few weeks people will watch it in their homes [on streaming platforms]. They will have the same feeling that we had at the premiere with the original 83 team.”

Bhasin was also happy with how the Indian team of 1983, the film industry and the media reacted to the film. “We have got reviews like no other film I have worked in before," he said. "People are comparing it to Lagaan (2001) and Chak De! India (2007).”

The actor will be seen next in two web-series, Ranjish Hi Sahi and Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhen, later this month.