By Sharada Iyer
The box-office success as well as critical acclaim of recent biopics Paan Singh Tomar, Bhaag Milka Bhaag and Mary Kom celebrating the spirit and determination of our sportspersons seems to have spawned a plethora of biopics in our industry. We are attacking this genre with a new found vigour and enthusiasm.
In fact this year on 23rd October, 2015, the biopic on our very own Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Indian Cricket Captain is going to hit the theatres. Titled M S Dhoni: The Untold Story, the film is directed by Neeraj Pandey and young Sushant Singh Rajput will be essaying the role of the Indian Captain while Alia Bhatt will play his wife Sakshi. The link below shows the stars who will be playing the other members of the Indian squad.
13th May 2016 will see the release of Azhar, the biopic on cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin and will have Emran Hashmi in the title role. The film is being produced by Ekta Kapoor and directed by Tony D’Souza. The film also stars Prachi Desai.
On 14th August, 2015, a biopic on the life of a freedom fighter Gour Hari Das is releasing. After fighting against the British rule six decades ago, Gaur Hari Das, 80, fought with the Indian government for 32 years to get his freedom fighter’s certificate. Now, his struggle to get recognised as a freedom fighter has been caught on celluloid. The film titled Gour Hari Dastan has been directed by Ananth Mahadevan and will have Vinay Pathak essaying the role of this octogenarian.
On August 21st,2015, Ketan Mehta’s Manjhi – The Mountain Man will hit the theatres. It tells the incredible story of a poor labourer Dashrath Manjhi, who took 22 years to carve a path out of a mountain in the Gehlour hills, Bihar, to lay a road. In 1959, Manjhi’s wife, Falguni Devi, was grievously hurt when a boulder from the mountain crashed on her, and despite best efforts she could not be given medical treatment in time to save her as the road from Gehlaur to Wazirganj,where the nearest hospital lay, was 80 km long. When he finished the task, the distance had reduced to 13 km. The brilliant actor Nawazuddin Siddique will be essaying the role and from the looks of the trailer, the film promises to be deserving tribute to this amazing son of the soil.
In the biopic titled Neerja Bhanot, actress Sonam Kapoor brings to life the incredible courage and gallantry displayed by the 23-year old air-hostess Neerja Bhanot , who died while saving the passengers on board Pan Am 73 flight (Bombay-Karachi-Frankfurt-New York). Neerja was killed in the shootout following the hijack at Karachi International Airport on September 5, 1986. Posthumously, she became the youngest recipient of India’s highest civilian award for bravery, the Ashok Chakra. While Shabana Azmi will be seen playing the role of Neerja’s mother, music composer cum singer Shekhar Ravjiani (of Vishal and Shekhar fame) has been roped in to play the lead opposite Sonam. This film is also slated to release later this year or early next year.
18th December will see the release of director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s lavishly mounted Indian historical Bajirao Mastani. The film narrates the story of the Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao I and his second wife Mastani with Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone portraying the main protagonists. Priyanka Chopra in the role of Kashibai, Bajirao’s first wife, forms the third angle of the triangle.
DANGAL– is a biopic where Aamir Khan plays the role of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, the father of two female wrestlers Geeta and Babita who won gold and silver medals, respectively, at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, 2010. Mahavir also happened to be their coach. The movie directed by Nitesh Tiwari proposes to capture the story of the struggle, determination and success of Mahavir, who dared to chase his dream to see his daughters as champion wrestlers despite inhibitions from society.
Director Omung Kumar ,who directed Mary Kom last year will be starting work on his next biopic titled Sarabjit , which will trace the struggles of Dalbir Kaur (to be played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) who runs from pillar to post to get her younger brother Sarabjit (to be played by Randeep Hooda) out of the Pakistani jail. Sarabjit Singh was an Indian National who was convicted and sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan in 1991 for his alleged involvement in the 1990 serial bomb blasts in Lahore and Faisalabad that killed 14 people. Sarabjit claimed that he was a farmer and a victim of mistaken identity, who strayed into Pakistan from his village located on the border, three months after the bombings. After languishing in the Pakistani jail for 23 years, he was finally killed by his prison inmates on 26th April, 2013.
In Ketan Mehta’s Indo-British production Jhansi Ki Rani, Kangna Ranaut will be essaying the role of the warrior queen and actor Hugh Grant is being considered for the character of General Hugh Rose who witnessed her legendary bravery in 1858.
Charles Aur Main is a movie that revolves around Charles Shobraj, a French serial killer of Indian origin, who preyed on Western tourists throughout Southeast Asia during the 1970s. Randeep Hooda will be seen in the title role of the enigmatic con man and vicious killer.
In the pipeline:
Director Rohit Jugraj has approached Dara Singh’s son Vindoo with a project with Akshay Kumar playing Dara Singh. Interestingly there is another Dara Singh bio-pic in the pipeline, this one in Punjabi. The final decision has yet to be taken.
Filmmaker Karan Johar has bought the rights to make a biopic on hockey legend Dhyan Chand. The producer-director took to Twitter to announce that he has the rights to depict the story of the greatest hockey star Dhyan Chand. Though there were rumours of Shah Rukh Khan bring roped in to play the lead, no official announcement regarding the cast has been made.
Arjun Rampal will be seen in a film titled Daddy which will be produced by Mandar Dalvi. The actor is said to portray the role inspired from gangster turned politician Arun Gawli in the film.
Director Raj Kumar Hirani is all set to make a biopic on the actor Sanjay Dutt and is keen to cast Ranbir Kapoor in the title role. This idea does seem very strange – Firstly what is so inspiring about Sanjay Dutt to make a biopic on him at this stage of his life and secondly Ranbir being a star in his own right, would he manage to look convincing as Sunjay Dutt!!!
Ranbir Kapoor is also being roped in to play the title role in the Kishore Kumar biopic being planned by director Anurag Basu. Ranbir’s physique is nowhere close to Kishore Kumar’s and just putting on weight is not enough to reprise the enigmatic personality of the one and only Kishore Kumar.
There are also talks of Vidya Balan being offered three biopics – M S Subbalakshmi, Suchitra Sen and Benazir Bhutto.
Kangna Ranaut is being considered by director Tigmanshu Dhulia for a biopic on the late actress Meena Kumari and the film would be an adaptation of Vinod Mehta’s book ‘Meena Kumari: The Classic Biography’. She has also reportedly been signed by director Hansal Mehta for a biopic rumoured to be based on a mountaineer.
Actress Sonakshi Sinha is all set to shed her glamorous avatar to essay the role of Amrita Pritam- a biopic being planned on the poetess.
Actress Rani Mukherjee is all set to bring to life the character of Begum Samru, an 18th century nautch girl who went on to become the ruler of Sardhana.
Tennis star Sania Mirza has expressed that she would like actress Deepika Padukone to play her in her biopic whenever it will be made.
Biopics require tremendous research and authenticity to bring to life the spirit and essence of the character. Too much cinematic liberty may kill the very motive behind such ambitious projects. Too much emphasis on the bold scenes between Randeep Hooda and Nandana Sen in the publicity posters kept the audience away from Rang Rasiya, the brilliantly made biopic on our great genius Raja Ravi Verma. Hawaaizada, biopic on Shivkar Bapuji Talpade starring Ayushman Khurrana in the lead also could not catch the audience interest. The coming months will reveal as to which of these gets made without hassles and what is the audience reaction…