Films are a larger-than-life reel depiction of real life, giving people an opportunity to watch their own lives being played on celluloid. Every movie goer connects to and sees himself in some or the other part of a movie; a romance reminiscent of one’s old crush or an emotion bring with it a remembrance of an old wound.
This year, Bollywood struck gold with the success of the Flying Sikh; I tend to wonder why don’t we witness more biographies on celluloid?
Masala Movies: 1000000, Biopics: 0
Over the past decade, we have seen a lack of good and original stories being told in Bollywood with the emergence of Tollywood potboilers and remakes ruling the roost in the modern times. If you look closely; the biggest hits in the past decade have all been southern remakes or masala entertainers.
With the risk factor growing with each passing day, filmmakers hesitate to experiment. They prefer making what works. With masala entertainers being a sure shot road to success, every week a Besharam comes to our big screen or a Bullett Raja or a Hero tearing a poster.Barring a few exceptions; we hardly seen a film not inspired or plain copied from regional cinema.
Hollywood has never shied away from telling stories of iconic figures in their society. If it is anything to go by, biopics made on the life of famous personalities like Abraham Lincoln and Marilyn Monroe tell the tale. With films like Aviator and Lincoln turning out to be big box office successes, Hollywood producers and corporate houses are encouraged to explore this genre. A biopic on Freddy Mercury that has been announced gives us a clearer picture.
Over the years we have witnessed icons and freedom fighters being paint red on the silver screen; Ajay Devgn played Bhagat Singh to perfection in The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Paresh Rawal played Sardar Valabhai Patel in Sardar, Aamir Khan played Mangal Pandey in The Rising and Irfan Khan too played the infamous dacoit of Bighad in the acclaimed biopic Paan Singh Tomar. But these films are just a flash in the pan. India as a nation has so witnessed so many personalities which can be depicted on the 70 mm screen. Bollywood directors can retell the tale of the first woman Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Madhubala, Ratan Tata, Nawab Pataudi,Khushwant Singh, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru; the list goes on.
Why don’t we see more Biopics being made in Bollywood?
But what stops directors and film makers from making more biopics? The last time film makers went into frenzy for biopics, they were left with burnt fingers.In the early part of the century, Bhagat Singh was a hot commodity and cash making machine for directors and producers as much as four movies being made on the freedom fighter. However the fate was dismal for all four movies. A film based on Subhash Chandra Bose also received no buyers.
A decade later, with movies like The Dirty Picture, Paan Singh Tomar and Gangs of Wasseypur, directors have realized the potential in this genre.
Since Bollywood loves to be inspired by Hollywood, this is something which the Hindi industry can take note from its counterpart. Hollywood has always relished making biopics on popular and cult personalities. These movies have also been applauded by critics and people alike.
As a moviegoer I would love to witness the life, the aspirations and struggles of the high profile figures of India. As Farhan Akhtar and Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra received kudos and admiration from audiences and critics alike, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag became the first to achieve as much success at the box office as it did; it crossed the 100 crore mark recently.
By Ish Chandok
Image Source:Besharam Film@Facebook