Soorma, Son Chiriya, Gully Boy, Kesari and more: What makes Bollywood go after reality | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

Soorma, Son Chiriya, Gully Boy, Kesari and more: What makes Bollywood go after reality

Jul 11, 2018 09:11 AM IST

In the next few months, Akshay Kumar, Ranveer Singh, Diljit Dosanjh and Sushant Singh Rajput will be seen in films based on real life incidents or people. We explore the pros and cons of making a film based on reality.

Strap: This year, over half-a-dozen Hindi films with real-life connect has hit bull’s eye at the box office. We find out how is Bollywood’s new love-affair with real stories paying rich dividends

Diljit Dosanjh plays hockey player Sandeep Singh in Soorma.
Diljit Dosanjh plays hockey player Sandeep Singh in Soorma.

Clearly, the first half of 2018 has been – as trade experts put it – “nothing less than splendid” for Bollywood. The list of bona fide hits/blockbusters includes films such as Pad Man, Padmaavat, Raazi, Raid, Parmanu and now Sanju. Interestingly, most of the successful movies this year have a common link: the real-life connect (they are either based on true stories or have been biographical).

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Fatima Sana Shaikh on the sets of Thugs of Hindostan, a film that is also based on a real life story.
Fatima Sana Shaikh on the sets of Thugs of Hindostan, a film that is also based on a real life story.

Relatability quotient

Even Hichki was an adaptation of Brad Cohen’s autobiography titled Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had. October’s storyline was inspired by personal experiences of film-maker Shoojit Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi. “As audiences, we are inclined towards real stories since these are the people we have read or heard about and sometimes even interacted with. So, we can relate to such worlds easily,” says trade analyst Taran Adarsh.

The coming days will also have films such as Soorma, Gold, Thugs of Hindostan, Paltan and Kedarnath releasing, all of which are either biopics or inspired by true stories. Last year too, films such as Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Jolly LLB 2 took cues from real world.

“Be it our ancient history or modern day world, India is replete with interesting and engaging tales,” says exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi. “Vis-à-vis such stories, the relatability factor is very high because these people are like you and me.”

Rathi has a point, as next year B-Town’s box office seems chock-o-block with ‘real’ elements. The list includes Super 30, Son Chiriya, Gully Boy, Kesari, Panipat and many more, besides a clutch of several biopics that are in various stages of production. If a film can be made in an interesting manner on such subjects, my question is, ‘why not?’ It’s always thrilling to watch a real story unfold [on big screen],” says Adarsh.

Fixed format

Filmmakers feel there are pros as well as cons with regards to real-life stories. “That way, you get a ready-made storyline but structuring it can be challenging and the same holds true for Sanju as well. Also, as a story-teller, your hands are somewhere tied because unlike a fictional story, here you can’t change the climax because you don’t like it. Certain things in such cases just can’t be fiddled around,” says Raj Kumar Hirani.

Raid director Raj Kumar Gupta adds: “When I heard Raid’s narration, I immediately knew this needed to be told. We do put some fiction in it [real-life stories] to make it entertaining but the focus is to make the stories connect with the audiences.”

But actors, on their part, admit that real life stories come with their set of challenges. Vis-à-vis playing Sanjay Dutt, Ranbir says: “It’s my interpretation. But we were very careful. I didn’t want it to look like mimicry because then it would really be jarring for audiences. Things became double hard for me since I worked in a biopic on a real-life person who is still extremely relevant. It wasn’t about a sports-star, politician or someone who is dead.”

True touch

Gold: The Akshay Kumar-starrer is a historical sports drama is based on the first ever hockey medal won by India after Independence.

’83: Kabir Khan-directed film – starring Ranver Singh -- is inspired by India cricket team’s 1983 World Cup victory.

Madhubala bioipic: The yesteryear star’s sister, Madhur Bhushan has announced her plans to make a film on Madhubala’s life.

Batla House: Nikkhil Advani’s film, starring John Abraham – is based on the real-life Batla House encounter that took place in Delhi in 2008.

Shotgun Shaadi: The Sidharth Malhotra-starrer revolves around the topic of groom kidnapping that’s prevalent around Bihar.

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    Prashant Singh is an Assistant Editor with HT Cafe. Besides bringing out the edition on a daily basis, he also extensively writes on Bollywood.

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