Addinath Kothare, who will be seen in Kabir Khan’s upcoming directorial 83, feels if any film can bring the audience back to the theatres, it is going to be the Ranveer Singh-starrer.

The film about India’s first cricket World Cup victory also stars Deepika PadukoneJiivaTahir Raj BhasinSaqib SaleemHarrdy SandhuAmmy VirkPankaj TripathiBoman IraniNishant DahiyaSahil Khattar, and several others.

The makers of 83, which has been delayed due to the ongoing pandemic, are yet to decide on an official release date.

“Theatres are opening slowly they say, so we hope that the film releases soon. Maharashtra is a major state for films and thus, we are all waiting for word on theatre reopening there. We hope things get back to normal soon so we can see our film on the big screen,” says Kothare.

While Singh will be seen as legendary cricketer Kapil Dev, Kothare portrays Indian batsman Dilip Vengsarkar in 83.

“It was a surreal experience. I got to interact with legends like Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, and Dilip Vengsarakr,” says Kothare.

Speaking about how he bagged the role, the actor, who is also awaiting the release of his directorial debut Paani, which also stars him, says, “I had finished my Paani shoot and had gone in for an ad film look test. Since I was tanned and had lost weight, I did not get the ad. But, someone from Mukesh Chabbra’s casting agency asked me to give a look test for 83. That same evening, I got a call saying that Kabir Khan wanted to meet me. I was ecstatic!”

“Working with Kabir Khan was a treat,” he adds.

Kothare explains that 83 is more about the team as a whole than any individual person. “What Kabir sir has created is not an individual film. It is about the team spirit. It’s about the chemistry and camaraderie the team had. The kind of cast he brought together, and the way he made us all gel, work and train together is so impressive. We became very close friends, all of us.”

Talking about the responsibility he felt stepping into the shoes of a legendary cricketer, Kothare says it took a lot of hard work. “The training they gave us was amazing. From interactions to camps, it was an immersive experience. So by the time we went on floors, we were completely in the skin of the characters.”

Kothare’s directorial debut Paani, which is yet to be released, has already won laurels. It won the Best Film on Environment Conservation/Preservation award at the 66th National Film Awards and Kothare went on to win the Best Actor award at the New York Indian Film Festival.

“Five years ago, I wanted to direct a film. A subject that was really troubling my mind was the water crisis around the world and in our country. That is when I came across the story of Hemant Babu Kendre, who lived in Nagderwadi, a village plagued by drought in the Nanded district of Maharashtra. The film is the story of how he saved his village from the water crisis,” Kothare explains.

The film is backed by Priyanka Chopra and Madhu Chopra under the banner of Purple Pebble Pictures. “Getting a production house to back a debut director is not an easy task. But credit to Priyanka Chopra for her vision. Her trust towards filmmakers is amazing. The entire Chopra family was instrumental in the making of Paani.”

Kothare, who began his career as a child actor in 1994, has been working as an actor in Hindi web series and films, along with some Marathi projects as well. He says he is open to trying out other languages in the future. “The common fabric that binds all my work is good content. It does not matter what language it is in or what platform it goes on. If it is a good team and the content is good, I would definitely be willing to take up the project.”

The actor, who was recently seen in City of Dreams 2, says the third season of the series is currently under discussion and might happen soon.

Kothare reveals that he is currently developing a web series and a film. Both projects are in the scripting stage and will be announced soon. He also has a Hindi web series coming up and another big film. “I shot a few things during the pandemic and they are all awaiting release now,” he adds.