By Iresh Gupta
Bollywood has recently been quintessential when it comes to portraying a biopic on the silver screen. PR teams have done some meritorious job promoting stories of lead actors working towards such roles. Be it Farhan Akhtar who underwent training for ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ or Aamir Khan who resided with the actual wrestler he is playing in upcoming ‘Dangal’, moviegoers know the exact struggle behind the process. Hence, our audiences like watching such stories but are the filmmakers showing exactly what needs to be watched?
Indian filmmakers choose to play on the story in order to sell a few more seats in the name of ‘masala’ or entertainment. This was the case with ‘Mary Kom’ where Omung Kumar (Director), Saiwyn Qadras (Story/Screenplay) and Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Producer) destroyed the very inspirational story of a boxer into mere two hour watch of something that was loaded with fiction, damaged reality as well as dire and trivial song sequences.
If a film goes right on aforesaid fallacies, it loses points on picturising the ‘hero’ more than her/his story. Even hit films like ‘Neerja’ fell short of showing how Neerja Bhanot really rescued passengers on the hijacked flight and focused more on her relationships with other characters in the film. ‘Airlift’, similarly didn’t how Air India flights and pilots rescued over 120000 passengers by flying some 488 flights in around 60 days. In ‘Manjhi’, Director Ketan Mehta also focussed a lot more on plastering Nawazzudin’s character rather than throwing a spotlight on how Dashrath Manjhi carved the way in 22 years.
The ongoing year 2016 has three cricket biographies on charts, one of which recently released in the form of ‘Azhar’. We definitely understand the dearth of good stories and good writers but are we really excited to see the film based on Dhoni, as ‘MS Dhoni: The Untold Story’?
Everything fails to justify participation of the person (on whom the biography is based) in the film making process, which I believe overpowers the filmmakers. The viewer in all probability questions the story portrayed like the one in ‘Azhar’ (why will Azharrudin want to show that he indulged in betting?) or little nuances in ‘FAN‘ (which isn’t really a biography) that go on to show SRK’s real life anecdotes like the one where he dances at a wedding. Are filmmakers really giving into this whole scenario for more funds?
Our industry is not looking for filmmakers who reveal twisted plots and untrue stories (who knows what’s the truth, when it comes to controversial biographies) and are not loyal to their subject or well are just looking for a break.
There also are scripts that can be told in thirty minutes like ‘Main Aur Charles’ and others that need more screen time like ‘Neerja’. Filmmakers need to pick up important subjects and not show the character or the story in unnecessary light of stereotypes. The financers also need to stop selling the film on the celebrity brand and face value. Was Priyanka Chopra just enough in ‘Mary Kom’? No.
Filmmakers and films that fail to hit the right spot when it comes to biographies show that Bollywood needs more to tell such stories. However, the ones like ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ by Tigmanshu Dhulia or Hansal Mehta’s films like ‘Shahid’ and ‘Aligarh’ have kept the show on but Hindi Film Industry definitely needs more.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.