Tagenarine Chanderpaul plays Larry Gomes in India’s 1983 World Cup movie

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By Avenash Ramzan

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Guyanese cricketer Tagenarine ‘Brandon’ Chanderpaul, the son of legendary West Indian batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, plays the role of former West Indies cricketer Larry Gomes in 83, a movie that captures India’s memorable Cricket World Cup victory almost 40 years ago.

The movie, filmed in 2019 during the Cricket World Cup hosted in England and directed by Kabir Khan, was released on Christmas Eve Day in India and Boxing Day in Guyana.

India, rank outsider at the World Cup, pulled off a major upset in the final at Lord’s, defending 183 against the mighty West Indies, who had won the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979.

Tagenarine Chanderpaul (left) with Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh (centre) and Deepika Padukone while in England filming the movie

Tagenarine was approached by a scout during the Regional Four-Day tournament in the Caribbean to play the role of 68-year-old Gomes, a gritty left-hander from Trinidad and Tobago, similar in style to the Guyanese.

“Being a part of 83 was a great opportunity that I stumbled upon while playing Four-Day cricket in St. Lucia in 2018,” Tagenarine, the 25-year-old former West Indies Under-19 opener, told News Room Sport.

“During a practice session a scout came to the ground and asked who wanted to try out for the film. To my surprise a few months later I received a call that I had been chosen to play the part of Larry Gomes.”

“It was an honour to meet the Bollywood actors, former Indian players and witnessing how things transpire on a movie set. A wonderful experience and movie to be associated with. I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”

Tagenarine Chanderpaul (centre) shares a moment with former Indian cricketers Sunil Gavaskar (right) and Gundappa Viswanath

Tagenarine aside, several other Caribbean nationals with cricket lineage are also part of the movie.

Carl Greenidge plays his father and opener Gordon Greenidge, while Mali Marshall did the same for his late father, the fast bowling spearhead Malcolm Marshall.

While West Indies’ captain Clive Lloyd has a son who features in the movie, he does not play his father. Jason Lloyd, thanks to his 6’8” frame, plays the fast bowler Joel Garner.

Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh plays the role of the iconic Indian captain Kapil Dev, while Deepika Padukone, who is also a producer of the movie, plays Romi Bhatia, Dev’s wife.

Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh (front) plays the role of India’s World Cup-winning skipper Kapil Dev in the movie

The transformational journey of 1983

Indian Sport journalist Ayaz Memon, who travelled to England to cover the 1983 World Cup, recalls India’s heady journey to cricketing glory.

Writing for the BBC, Memon reflected: “In 1983, India was considered to be a lost cause in limited overs cricket. In two earlier World Cups, the team had won just one match, and that too against East Africa.

“For the most part, India’s performances ranged between poor and appalling, exemplified by Sunil Gavaskar’s infamous “crawl” against England in the inaugural tournament in 1975, when he scored just 36 runs in 60 overs without getting out.”

Memon wrote: “I was still a relatively new cricket writer when I was assigned to cover the 1983 World Cup. It was a matter of great prestige, undoubtedly, but I was also apprehensive about how much coverage would be possible, given India’s stock in one-day cricket.”

The film recreates the balcony scene from Lord’s after India’s win (Photo: Getty Images)

“Unsentimental bookmakers usually know the pulse of experts and fans in such matters. The opening odds put India’s chances of winning the tournament at 66-1, and even that seemed charitable.”

Memon continued: “The disdain for India’s prospects was clear from almost every quarter. I remember going to the Lord’s cricket ground just before the tournament to get my accreditation as a journalist, only to be tersely told by officials that this would only be given to scribes from countries which made the final.

“India is unlikely to be there so I wouldn’t bother,” was the clear message. On the eve of the tournament, David Frith, who then edited Wisden Cricket Monthly, wrote that he would “eat his words” if India won the tournament.”

“The impact of the 1983 World Cup on India was transformational. That the country is a cricketing superpower today is traced back to this win. More importantly, beyond sport, it infused in Indians the self-belief to excel in every kind of endeavour,” Memon concluded.

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