Is B In Bollywood Really For Biopic?
A trend that started with Raja Harishchandra in early 1913, biopics have had a long journey of more than 100 years and today many of them are among renowned ‘A’ list movies. Biopics like Aligarh to Zubeidaa have not only revolutionized over the years but have constantly managed to inspire people around the globe.
Earlier Bollywood used to make a hit biopic every couple of years like Jodha Akbar but it had a rush of biopics in the year 2001 with various movies releasing that are still considered as one of the best movies, like Laagan. The biopic trend got really popular and reached its peak with the exceptional success of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Mary Kom, it has been going full speed ahead ever since. Every year, Bollywood has a number of biopics lined up for release and surprisingly the audience for such movies have increased in number exponentially also the success of recent films like Super 30, Dangal, Neerja has further strengthened the trend and urged the industry to keep on producing more such films.
Bollywood has a herd mentality. Except for a few creative & talented people, most just try to replicate movies/genres that have worked in the past. Therefore, Biopics can be considered as the jugaad of Bollywood because while writing a fictional topic one has to use their imagination; whereas writing biopics can be fairly easy. Getting the information isn’t too hard either, considering that nowadays almost all information is publicly available and easily accessible. Biopics garner a lot of free publicity for the movie before its release like in the case of The Accidental Prime Minister, where Congress party workers protested across the state & the movie stayed in the news providing it easy promotion.
Biopics are highly influential and helps change the lives of people Sanju gave Sanjay Dutt a chance to whitewash his image. Not only that it also gave him a chance to regain his lost fame, earn lots of money and most importantly gain the respect of everyone.
Biopics act as a medium to remind people of the blunders and make them nostalgic about their political leaders for example Thackeray, accidental prime minister, etc. Some also do the good work of telling more people about the great contributions of ordinary people to society. For example- Super 30, Manjhi – The Mountain Man, etc.
There have been a plethora of biopics on freedom fighters, sports personalities; present-day and past unseen heroes, underworld dons, politicians, and celebrities that have become an enormous source of motivations for filmmakers.
In India, sports biopics are big. Biopic gives filmmakers fresh themes and they are making more films than ever. They have become the trend of the season. The 2007 film ‘Chak De India,’ was one of the first sports biopics, it was 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 the 2010 film ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ starring Irfan Khan, which despite being a modest budget film, became a resounding success. Its success convinced Bollywood to turn to sports biopics as serious commercial subjects. These films come with strong emotional content and give the audience a fresh lease of life, and also make them appreciate the country more. Even now there are biopics lined up for releases in 2021, from ’83 on the life of star cricketer Kapil Dev to Saina based on the Badminton superstar.
Bollywood’s love affair and gangster films have always been 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.
The boom of biographical and historical films in Bollywood has been going strong in 2019 with hit films like Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, Super 30, and Saand Ki Aankh. Inspirational movies like Chhapaak expose societal evils and brings forward real issues, it also gives courage to a lot of people. Biopics are real-life stories, of people, who really were that brave or legendary. This fact gives a sense of hope to the people, that if someone else can do it, so cam you. Movies like The Sky is Pink shows there is light and happiness even in dark and tragic times. With movies like these, there’s no stopping Bollywood because they have many more true stories waiting to be retold on the big screen.
Starting with Chhapaak and Tanhaji, 2020 was poised to be the year of the Bollywood biopics, though there were plenty of difficulties because of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, it didn’t stop Bollywood from churning out hits like Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl and Shakuntala Devi -The Human Computer.
At first, Indians were unable to grasp the concept of Biopic and even when they did these movies were unable to compete with Hollywood biographies like life is beautiful but the industry kept on making them anyway believing “Jub Samay Aaiga toh Subse Bada aur Sub Se Lamba Chalaang Hum He Marange.”
Well, it’s Biopic time in Bollywood now!
Shipra is a travel enthusiast & an aspiring journalist. She loves to look at the world through her camera lenses & vsco filters. She is really passionate about writing.