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Is Arjun Talwar a real cricketer? Netflix’s Jersey leaves audiences ‘gobsmacked’

Bruno Cooke May 20, 2022
arjun talwar cricketer

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Jersey arrived on Netflix today (20 May 2022), starring Shahid Kapoor as cricketer Arjun Talwar and featuring music from Indian composer and lyricist duo Sachet Tandon and Parampara Thakur. How have fans reacted to the movie, and has Kapoor played a cricketer before? 

WARNING: JERSEY SPOILERS AHEAD

‘We all have an Arjun Talwar within us’ says actor Shahid Kapoor

News Nine interviewed Indian actor Shahid Kapoor about what it was like to play cricketer Arjun Talwar in Hindi-language romantic drama film Jersey.

He said that, despite the “challenges of essaying the part” – on which more below – he is convinced that “we all have an Arjun Talwar within us”.

The outlet adds that his performance “provides a worthy fulcrum” for the narrative. 

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Jersey | New Official Trailer

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Jersey | New Official Trailer
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Such was his commitment to the role that Shahid suffered a head injury during the shoot. A source told PinkVilla in January 2020 – the film experienced several delays along the way – that a cricket ball “unexpectedly came and hit him on the lower lip and cut open a wide gash”.

“Blood started gushing out!”

News18 adds that he required 13 stitches, but was back up and running before long.

Is Arjun Talwar a real cricketer?

No. Jersey (2022) may be realistic, but it is not based on a true story – Arjun Talwar is a fictional cricketer.

The film is a remake, by the same director (Gowtam Tinnanuri), of a 2019 film, also called Jersey.

The earlier, Telugu version received an “overwhelming response” from audiences and critics alike, the New Indian Express wrote in October 2019.

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Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images

After several delays, due first to the covid-19 pandemic, then specifically to the spread of the Omicron variant, and finally to avoid clashing with Beast and K.G.F: Chapter 2, Jersey eventually opened in cinemas on 22 April.

If the existence of a real cricketer by the name of Arjun Talwar suggests that the protagonist of Jersey is indeed based on a real person, it is purely coincidental.

The individual profiled on Indian cricket website CricHeroes is currently playing. Since the Jersey’s protagonist dies at the end of the film, it is not the same Arjun Talwar.

How have audiences reacted to Jersey’s release?

Jersey came out on Netflix today (20 May 2022).

Per box office reports (via India Today), the film had a “very average opening”, with “low footfall” in cinemas.

But, as Business Today reports, the online response to Jersey has been broadly positive. 

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One Netflix user took to Twitter after watching Jersey to say they were left “gobsmacked” by Shahid Kapoor’s performance as cricketer Arjun Talwar.

However, the outlet also adds that some people called for a “total boycott” of the film, saying they would “support South Indian cinema instead of Bollywood”.

Kapoor previously played a cricketer in 2009’s Dil Bole Hadippa!, a romantic comedy co-starring Rani Mukerji.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.