For lovers of Hindi films, watching biopics helps acquaint them with a slice of history. For actors, it’s a matter of prestige to be chosen for such roles, and for producers, it’s a great experience because their cash registers don’t stop ringing. In the last few years since Gandhi was released, biopics have been made indigenously in India and are extremely popular here.
Some of the most popular biopics in recent times are as follows:
1. MS Dhoni: The Untold Story
This biopic is based on the life and career of India’s cricket captain in recent times, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It is considered to be one of 2016’s best movies. The character of Dhoni is played by popular TV star, Sushant Singh Rajput and it was directed by Neeraj Pandey. In its opening weekend, this film made more than Rs 60 crore, so you can imagine the impact of brand MS Dhoni on fans and moviegoers alike.
2. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
This film is based on the autobiography of Indian athlete, Olympian and national champion runner, Milkha Singh. Singh and his daughter Sonia Sanwalka co-wrote his autobiography, The Race of My Life. The film was made in 2013 by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and scripted by Prasoon Joshi. Farhan Akhtar plays Singh and has Pavan Malhotra and Art Malik in secondary roles and a cameo role by Sonam Kapoor. This was the first biopic to make a century with an unbroken record for the next three years.
3. The Dirty Picture
This biopic was based on the life of the late South Indian actress, Silk Smitha, known for her erotic roles. It was directed by Milan Luthria and co-produced by Shobha Kapoor and Ekta Kapoor. The cast included Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Tusshar Kapoor and Emraan Hashmi. The film won a lot of acclaim and awards, with Balan herself winning several awards. The film won three National Film Awards and three Filmfare Awards, and six Screen Awards.
Sonam Kapoor plays the pivotal role of Neerja Bhanot, the flight attendant whose flight was hijacked in Karachi, en route from Mumbai to New York. She was killed for saving the lives of all those aboard this flight by the hijackers. For this act of bravery, the Indian government posthumously awarded her the Ashoka Chakra.
5. Mary Kom
In 2014, Mary Kom was made as a biographical sports film based on the Manipuri boxer and her journey to victory at the World Boxing Championship in Ningbo, 2008. This film was directed by Omung Kumar and stars Priyanka Chopra who plays the lead role. This film won the Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment honor at the 62nd National Film Awards.
6. Paan Singh Tomar
What happens when an Indian solider and athlete gives up his career as a soldier and turns a dacoit? This is the story of the film Paan Singh Tomar, based on his life, made by Tigmanshu Dhulia. The lead role is played by Irrfan Khan -starrer met with a very good response and the film grew from strength to strength. It emerged as a winner. The reasons for this move form the meat of the story of this unusual biopic.
7. Bandit Queen
This film was directed by Shekhar Kapur in 1996 and the life of Bandit Queen Phoolan Devi was adeptly played by Seema Biswas. This film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi, Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie and Best Direction for 1996, among other prestigious awards.
This sport biopic was directed by Tony D’Souza and written by Rajat Arora. It is based on the life and sporting career of Mohd. Azharuddin. Emraan Hashmi plays the renowned cricketer. The cricketer’s glorious professional career and the scandals that were linked to him off the field make for an interesting film.
Sarbjit is a biopic based on the life of Indian farmer Sarbjit who crossed the Indian border unknowingly and was convicted by Pakistan as Indian spy Manjit Singh and jailed. His family suffered the effects of bad political relations between the two countries and his sister Daljit Kaur spent the next 23 years fighting to prove his innocence with the Pakistan government. The title role is played by Randeep Hooda while Aishwarya Rai Bachchan playing Daljit Kaur.
Aamir Khan plays the role of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, a wrestler, who is keen to enter his two daughters into this sport. The film showcases the journey of Phogat, a resident of a Haryana village. The movie traces the way he inducts his daughters into wrestling. Eventually, in the Commonwealth Games 2010, held in Delhi, his daughters won medals.
The lives of great men, whether in sports or other fields, are inspirational to millions of cinegoers in India. Right from the time Gandhi was screened, the need to bring the masses in close touch with the contributions of hitherto unknown but iconic achievers, was felt and this gave rise to a gap being filled in the new Hindi film genre of biopics.
Making a biopic raises the curiosity of audiences as this gives them an opportunity to get to know more about regional heroes or national achievers. With the biopic trend becoming popular among actors and audiences, the trend is now to showcase the lives of evergreen film personalities like Guru Dutt, Kishore Kumar, Madhubala, etc.