With the release and success of Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju, making a biopic has once again become the ‘in’ thing in Bollywood. Sanju, which features Ranbir Kapoor in the titular role, has smashed all records in India and is the biggest hit of Ranbir’s career. However, this is not the first biopic Bollywood has produced in recent years. In fact, in the last five years, the trend of biopics is a recurring one, beginning with Bhaag Milkha Baag that released in 2013.
Instep takes a look at some of Bollywood’s most prolific productions in recent years.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)
Based on Milkha Singh (star athlete)
Portrayed by: Farhan Akhtar
Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
India’s first track star, Milkha Singh, had a great career especially when it came to running. He represented India all over the world and won a lot of medals for simply being the fastest athlete on the track and Farhan Akhtar paid a brilliant tribute to his legacy in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. Farhan, primarily known as a director, was not only excellent in the role of Milkha Singh but was exemplary in track scenes where he had to run fast and remind people of the fastest man in India during the 1950s.
Mary Kom (2014)
Based on Mary Kom
Directed by Omung Kumar
She came, she boxed and she knocked others out – that’s Priyanka Chopra in the role of Mary Kom and how she transformed herself into a world class boxer. Many objected to the casting of Priyanka Chopra in the role but she proved them all wrong by depicting the life of Mary Kom perfectly on screen. Not only did she transform herself from a damsel in distress to one who puts others in distress, she managed to win awards for her excellent portrayal.
Based on Neerja Bhanot (air hostess)
Directed by Ram Madhvani
Sonam Kapoor’s Neerja revolved around the life and death of heroic air hostess Neerja Bhanot who died saving hundreds of lives during an airplane hijack attempt in the ’80s. The actress was outstanding in her portrayal of Neerja Bhanot while Jim Sarbh rose to prominence as the antagonist in the film.
Not surprisingly, Neerja won six Filmfare Awards, including Best Film (Critics), Best Actress (Critics) that went to Sonam Kapoor and Best Supporting Actress that went to Shabana Azmi. It also picked up two National Awards including one for Best Feature Film in Hindi.
MS Dhoni - The Untold Story (2016)
Based on: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (cricketer, India)
Sushant Singh Rajput
Directed by Neeraj Pandey
How a young boy from a small village went onto become the greatest cricket captain India has ever seen is the premise of this biopic of MS Dhoni. The cricketer’s ascent from being a ticket collector to one of the best batsmen in the world is magnificently portrayed by Sushant Singh Rajput, who not only batted like Dhoni but also looked like the part of the former Indian Captain. The film was significant considering it revolved around the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in which the final winning shot (that fetched India the cup that year) was struck by none other than Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Based on Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters, Geeta and Sanya (wrestlers, India)
Portrayed by: Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya MalhotraDirected by Nitesh Tiwari
Dangal might be famous all over the world for Aamir Khan’s compelling transformation from a young man to an older wrestler who coaches his daughters, but credit must also be given to Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra for portraying female wrestlers and looking the part as well. The film managed to do well in India and also in China because of its depiction of rural India where wrestling is still considered to be a man’s sport. Aamir Khan was excellent in the role that was based on real-life wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat and weighed 96 kgs in one part of the film and shed 27kg in five months to look the part of a younger Phogat. All in all, a radical transformation that showcased Khan’s dedication ultimately led the film to earn jaw-dropping box office figures in India and beyond.