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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Apr 2014

2013 was the year of biopics in cinema across the world

PTI  New Delhi, December 27, 2013
First Published: 15:56 IST(27/12/2013) | Last Updated: 19:43 IST(28/12/2013)

The extraordinary story of Indian Olympian Milkha Singh, life and times of technology visionary Steve Jobs and Nelson Mandela's prisoner-to-president journey, were among the stories that filled the cinema calendar in the year gone by.

Riding on a biographical mood set by the success of The Iron Lady, Lincoln and Paan Singh Tomar, many stories of struggle, courage and resilience found their way to cinema screens.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom starring Idris Elba as Madiba is one of the latest tributes to the anti-apartheid icon, who after having unified the segregated blacks and the whites through years of peaceful resistance died earlier this month. The film is a strong contender at the Oscars this March.

Based on the life of champion sprinter Milka Singh, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, the sporting biopic saw Farhan Akhtar stepping into the giant shoes of the Flying Sikh under the direction of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, earning both commercial and critical acclaim.

While 'Milkha' dashed into people's hearts in India, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs's biopic in Hollywood brought the legendary innovator alive on the big screen. Jobs', starring American actor Ashton Kutcher, was a timely homage to the master who died in 2011.

After wowing the world last year with films on Abraham Lincoln and Margaret Thatcher, Hollywood brought out the ill-fated romantic story of princess Diana.

Diana, based on Kate Snell's book Diana: Her Last Love, saw actress Naomi Watts playing Diana in the movie.

In India, co-produced by Anurag Kashyap and directed by Hansal Mehta, Shahid, starring Rajkumar Yadav of Kai Po Che fame in the lead role, told the story of slain lawyer and activist Shahid Azmi.

Life stories on Olympian boxer Mary Kom, celebrated Carnatic vocalist M S Subbulakshmi and legendary actor-singer Kishore Kumar are also in the pipeline.

Priyanka Chopra is already shooting the movie on Kom while Anurag Basu is reportedly planning to team up with his Barfi! star Ranbir Kapoor for the Kishore biopic.

Bollywood may have been selective in the biopic zone but Hollywood kept belting out stories based on individuals. Australian Julian Assange, founder of whistleblower Wikileaks that leaked several classified documents online in a dramatic sweep of events, finally had a cinematic adaptation.

The Fifth Estate saw actor Benedict Cumberbatch getting into the skin of 42-year-old Assange, whose real life perhaps had more twists and turns than its reel counterpart. The year also witnessed Hollywood star Michael Douglas slipping into the wardrobe of American pianist and vocalist Liberace in Steven Soderbergh-directed Behind the Candelabra.

The made-for TV film, based on a memoir, Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace by Scott Thorson and Alex Thorleifson recounts the tempestuous six-year relationship between Liberace and his protege Thorson, played by Matt Damon.

Among others biographies, the year also saw legendary guitarist Jimi Henmdrix's life being adapted for the celluloid in the drama 'All Is by My Side', with actor Andre Benjamin slinging the guitar in a pop icon avatar.

Life of American adult film star Linda Lovelace, who later denounced her pornography career to become an activist for anti-pornography movement was also captured in Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried in the lead role.

Director Ketan Mehta's ambitious film Mountain Man, on the incredible life-story of Dasrath Majhi, who literally chiselled his way through a mountain to make a road in a village in Bihar's Gaya district was expected to release this year, but got delayed due to legal problems.

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