Real to Reel: Biographies Galore!


It is easy to see why so many movies are been made on biographies, they are hugely popular!!! Real life stories have always been a constant source of fodder for writers and directors in the Hindi film industry, in the bargain sometimes creating masterpieces on the silver screen. Of late, we have been treated to many biopics with some of the biggest stars readily taking up promising projects.

Of course, it is always a treat to watch our favourite celebrity performing the role of a real-life character giving us the chance to gain a understanding of the person on whom the movie is based upon. Here we take a look at a dozen biopics that stand out and what they are all about!


  1. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
    The 2013 Indian biographical sports drama film directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, with a script written by Prasoon Joshi, is based on the life of Milkha Singh, the iconic Indian athlete also known as ‘The Flying Sikh’, who was a national champion runner and an Olympian. It narrates the ups and downs of the legendary athlete and has Farhan Akhtar in the title role, who gave one of his best performances till date.


  1. Mary Kom
    Chungneijang Mery Kom Hmangte, better known as Mary Kom, is an Olympic Indian boxer hailing from Manipur. A five-time World Amateur Boxing champion and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships she is nicknamed ‘Magnificent Mary’. She became the first Indian woman boxer to get a Gold Medal in the Asian Games in 2014 in South Korea. Priyanka Chopra played the title role in Mary Kom, a biographical film about her life, and her performance was much appreciated.


  1. Special 26
    Special 26 was based on 1987 Opera House heist done by a conman, who posed as a CBI official. The Indian heist crime thriller film directed by Neeraj Pandey had Akshay Kumar in the lead with Anupam Kher, Jimmy Shergill, Rajesh Sharma, Kishor Kadam and Divya Dutta as his accomplices in heists in the movie. It won widespread critical acclaim and was regarded as one of the best films of that year.


  1. Gulaab Gang
    Gulaab Gang is a 2014 Indian crime drama film centered on the struggle of women in the country, directed by Soumik Sen and had Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla in the lead. Though the film received mixed reviews, critics raved about Chawla’s performance in the film, calling it the best performance of the year. Gulaab Gang members are activists and vigilantes in Bundelkhand Uttar and Madhya Pradesh. They wear pink sarees and take up issues like domestic violence, the dowry system, rape, electricity matters and education.


  1. Airlift
    Airlift is a war thriller film directed by Raja Krishna Menon and features Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur in lead roles. Menon was encouraged to make this movie after he completely studied the war details that were available. The film takes after Ranjit Katyal (Akshay Kumar), a Kuwait-based businessman who gets what he wants but at the time of the war, he sees that his own money cannot bring him safety. He alone plans on a common operation to contact the Indian Embassy and ask for help to get hundreds of Indian people back to India from Kuwait amid the war zone.


  1. Bandit Queen
    Bandit Queen, based on the life of Phoolan Devi, was directed by Shekhar Kapoor and had Seema Biswas in the lead role. It traces her life story; how she was married at a very young age, molested, the hardships she faced and how she was forced to leave the village and join the group of dacoits.


  1. Gandhi
    This is an epic biographical film based on the true life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the father of our nation. Though the entire life of Mahatma Gandhi cannot be covered in a single film, makers of this film have tried to bring in the most important portions of his life. This movie makes a splendid showing of defining Gandhi’s life. Ben Kingsley won an Academy Award for his splendid depiction of Gandhi in this iconic motion picture.


  1. Manjhi – The Mountain Man
    Manjhi is a biographical movie based on the life of Dashrath Manjhi and was directed by Ketan Mehta. Dashrath was a poor labourer in the Gehalur, in a small village near Gaya in Bihar who was encouraged to carve a road through a mountain after his wife fell down from the mountain. Nawazuddin played the main role brilliantly.


  1. Azhar
    Azhar is a sports film based on the life of the famous cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin, the match-fixing scandal and how his personal life went for a toss. It is directed by Tony D’Souza and written by Rajat Arora. Emraan Hashmi played the role of Azhar, and others in the movie were Nargis Fakhri, Prachi Desai and Lara Dutta.


  1. Neerja
    The plot centers on the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan, on 5 September 1986. The film is shown from the point of view of the flight’s head purser, Neerja Bhanot, who thwarted the hijack attempt by alerting the pilots, thus grounding the plane. She was killed by the hijackers while helping to save 359 of the 379 passengers and crew on board. The government posthumously awarded her the Ashoka Chakra and she was the youngest person to receive it. This film directed by Ram Madhvani had Sonam Kapoor as the lead character, who received rave reviews for her performance.


  1. Dangal
    Dangal is a biographical sports drama film, which tells the story of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat who taught wrestling to his daughters Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari. The former is India’s first female wrestler to win at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where she won the gold medal (55 kg) and her sister Babita Kumari won the silver (51 kg). It is one of Aamir Khan’s most popular movies and one of his best performances too.


  2. Dhoni: The Untold Story
    Sushant Singh Rajput was seen as the most celebrated Indian cricket captain, MS Dhoni, in this film. The film chronicles the life of Dhoni from a young age and the series of life events that finally culminates to his stardom in the realm of cricket. Helmed by Neeraj Pandey, on one of the most loved cricketers of India it was very popular, especially with Sushant’s great performance.

Upcoming biopics to watch out for are based on Sanjay Dutt and Saadat Hasan Manto, with Ranbir Kapoor and Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing the lead roles respectively. With many others in the offing, movie lovers’ fascination with biopics continues!

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