Bollywood is changing, so is the audience. Filmmakers are experimenting with a newer choice of topics that find a wider acceptance. One such topic is biopics- the latest trend in Bollywood. There have been a plethora of biopics on sports personalities, politicians, freedom fighters and underworld dons and celebrities which have become a huge source of inspiration for filmmakers. Influenced by the Hollywood trend, this genre of films based on real life characters are doing tremendously well at the box office.
Biopics in past
It is not the first time Bollywood is chasing on ‘biopic trend.’ In past we have seen some of the best films like Guru Dutt's Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), Shyam Benegal's Bhoomika (1976) and Ketan Mehta's Mangal Pandey – The Rising (2005.) Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black (2005) based on the life of Helen Keller is considered as one of the most powerful Bollywood movies till date. All these movies have tried their level best to represent their respective stories and shed some light on personalities. But filmmakers have been unable to produce something that can be comparable with Hollywood biopics like A Beautiful Mind (2001) based on the life of a mathematician John Nash.
Sports biopics, the new trend in Bollywood
Despite the shortcomings, Bollywood is growing and produce films based on novel storylines that find a wider acceptance. In India, sports biopics are big. Biopic gives filmmakers the fresh themes and they are making more films than ever. The 2007 film 'Chak De India,' was the first sports biopics inspired by the life of an Indian women's hockey team coach Mir Ranjan Negi, who led a team of girls to new heights. Then there was 2010 film ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ starring Irfan Khan followed by Priyanka Chopra starrer 'Mary Kom' and Farhan Akhtar's 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. In 2016, Neeraj Pandey's MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, biopic on the former Indian cricket captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni became a huge success. These films with strong emotional content gave audience the fresh lease of life.
We have recently seen Aamir Khan’s Dangal, biopic on the real life story of Indian wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters Geeta and Babita. Dangal became highest grossing film of 2016, with a whopping collection of around Rs 400 crore, at the box office. Biopic has never been so big in Bollywood before. Bollywood is working on a number of sports biopics. A film based on Sachin’s life “Sachin: A billion Dream” is set to release this year. MS Dhoni is all set to produce a biopic on Indian hockey legend Dhyan Chan and Varun Dhawan to play the lead.
Biopics on Gangsters
Besides sports biopics, Bollywood’ love affair and gangster films have always loved by the audience. Ram Gopal Varma’s 2002 film ‘Company was loosely based on the relationship between mob bosses Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan. The 2007 film Black Friday directed by Anurag Kashyap based on S Hussain Zaidi’s book of the same name, is considered the most authentic film on Mumbai’s gangsters. Once Upon A Time in Mumbai (2010) based on the lives of real-life gangsters Haji Mastaan and Dawood Ibrahim was a huge success at the box office. We have also recently seen Raees, based on the life of a gangster Abdul Latif. The film starring Shah Rukh Khan crossed Rs 100 crore in the first week of its release.
It’s Biopic time in Bollywood. Sanjay Dutt biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor is coming later this year. Real life stories continue to inspire Bollywood. The biopic, it seems are here to stay for some more time.