Sir Richard John Hadlee, who is regarded as one of the greatest cricket all-rounders, was so inspired after seeing the Kabir Khan film '83' on an OTT platform that he got in touch, after years, on email with Kapil Dev, who captained the Indian team that returned home with the World Cup in 1983.
"Hi Kaps!" wrote Sir Richard to Kapil Dev, who, incidentally, bested the New Zealander's then record wicket haul of 431 to take the World No. 1 spot briefly. "It has been many years since we have seen or heard from each other. I have just finished watching '83' on Netflix and I was inspired to contact you," Sir Richard continued.
"I really enjoyed the movie and [am] reliving the 1983 World Cup. It was a very inspirational movie and a story that warmed my heart," said the New Zealander, who played his last World Cup in 1983 after being India's nemesis in 1975 and 1979.
Sir Richard, incidentally, did not represent his country in the 1987 World Cup because he said he did not relish playing in India.
In his email, Sir Richard mentioned that the film gave him a deeper insight into Kapil Dev as a person and "how you motivated your team through your words and deeds on the field." He added: "Without even checking the record books I remember your marvellous innings against Zimbabwe (and your score) and the low team scores in the final, and how the team [India] lifted themselves to defeat the Windies."
Sir Richard said it was "great to see you and Jimmy [Mohinder Amarnath] play an active part in the movie". He complimented Ranveer Singh for portraying Kapil Dev well and added: "The production was excellent and the story was absorbing with interesting asides, especially about the support the team had from fans in India and on the border."
Both Kapil Dev and Amarnath have featured in cameos in the film, apart from lending their perspective during the making of '83'. Kapil Dev appears in a shot where he can be seen lauding his on-screen avatar portrayed by Ranveer Singh; Amarnath plays his own father, the legendary Lala Amarnath, whom the '83' team members kept invoking in their conversations.
Sir Richard also praised the film on the techniques used to recreate the historic World Cup. "Seeing the games acted out with some real film footage and still camera shots embellished the movie and brought life to the story," Sir Richard said. "Some of the actors were very distinguishable both in the Indian and West Indian teams -- I thought Malcom Marshall's bowling action was very good."
The year 1983 was special for New Zealand, too, for the Kiwis registered their first-ever Test series win on English soil with a comfortable 3-1 series win. Hadlee topped both batting and bowling averages for New Zealand, and bagged his 200th Test wicket in the final Test, which was held at Nottingham.
In his heartfelt email, Sir Richard wrote: "I have many fond memories of playing against you and doing TV interviews during the World Cup staged in the West Indies. I also recall the time when we accidently hit a pedestrian who ran in front of the car and we took him to the hospital."
Concluding on a personal note, Sir Richard updated Kapil Dev about his health condition and his life after hanging up his boots, "I will be 71 in July -- I have had several health issues but I am OK at the moment -- I am retired and live on a golf course and play 3x a week with a handicap of 13."