Killing Verappan, Airlift and more: Reality bites celluloid in 2016

  • Sneha Mahadevan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 02, 2016 09:25 IST
Sandeep Bharadwaj, who plays Veerappan, the dreaded Sandalwood smuggler in Ram Gopal Varma’s film Killing Veerappan, shares an uncanny resemblance with the bandit. (Twitter)

While romance has been one of the most tried and tested genres for filmmakers in Bollywood, movies inspired by real-life incidents are now catching up. If 2015 had films like Talvar , inspired by the Arushi Talwar murder case, Bajirao Mastani that brought to screen the life of Maratha warrior, Bajirao and Main Aur Charles, based on Charles Sobhraj’s life, this year will also see many films based on real-life incidents.

Kickstarting the trend is Ram Gopal Varma’s Killing Veerappan , based on the real story of Veerappan, a sandalwood smuggler and the operation carried out to nab him. The film hit theatres on Friday, January 1, 2016.

Watch the trailer

Akshay Kumar’s Airlift follows closely, with the release date set for January 22,2016. Akshay essays the role of Ranjit Katyal, an Indian businessman who controls a large conglomerate in Kuwait, while Nimrat Kaur plays his wife. Set in the backdrop of the Gulf war of 1990, the film shows how Akshay’s Ranjit suddenly loses everything and has to depend on the country he left behind, India, for his very survival.

Watch Airlift trailer

Shortly after that is the Sonam Kapoor-starrer Neerja, which is based on the life of flight attendant Neerja Bhanot who died while saving passengers when her plane was hijacked by terrorists in 1986. Sonam says it was an exhausting experience to bring Neerja to life. “Playing Neerja was not an easy task. I wanted to do justice to the character and gave it my 100%. It left me emotionally exhausted.” The film releases in theatres on 19th February 2016.

Watch Sonam Kapoor in Neerja biopic

Sports biopics

Then there are biopics on cricketers Mohammad Azharuddin and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and another one planned on Saina Nehwal.

Watch: Emraan Hashmi essays the role of Azhar

A biopic on legendary poet and lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi is also in the pipeline.

Sushant Singh Rajput plays MS Dhoni in the cricketer’s biopic. (Twitter)

Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal and Ashutosh Gowariker’s next with Hrithik Roshan, are also said to be inspired by real-life incidents.

Aamir Khan plays former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat in his upcoming film, Dangal.

Manoj Bajpayee-starrer Aligarh is a true story of a professor who is made to quit his job for his sexuality.

Manoj Bajpayee plays the lead role in Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh. (Twitter)

Trade speak
Trade analyst Atul Mohan says this trend is here to stay. “You cannot serve routine stuff to the audience anymore. They want to be entertained in those 2.5 hours but when there is reality, it becomes even more interesting. If filmmakers get the budgeting right, more such films will be seen on celluloid,” he says.

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Petition filed in Madras HC against Killing Veerappan’s release
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