COMMONMAN STORIES ARE INSPIRING BOLLYWOOD
A bunch of biopics this year and in the recent past highlight the extraordinary stories of ordinary people
Move over sportsmen and politicians, there’s a new hero for Bollywood filmmakers — the common man with an extraordinary life story.
Here’s the lineup: Pad Man, starring Akshay Kumar, based on the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, the social activist; Hrithik Roshan’s untitled film, based on Super 30 mathematician and teacher Anand Kumar; the Ranveer Singh-starrer Gully Boy, a film on real-life street rappers; a biopic on the Kargil martyr, Capt. Vikram Batra, played by Sidharth Malhotra; and a film on the life of Verghese Kurien, ‘Father of the White Revolution’ in India (that might also star Akshay).
R Balki, who directed Pad Man, says that such stories have an immediate connect, as they inspire everyone. “I made a film on Arunachalam because what he has achieved is not common at all,” says the filmmaker, of the man who made it his mission to ensure that rural women got the right menstrual hygiene product. “Such people have to break so many barriers in life, they have to go through so many circumstances, and they come out victorious,” adds Balki.
In the recent past, Hindi films have celebrated some apparently ordinary people whose stories left a deep impression — Aligarh (2016), on Aligarh Muslim University professor Ramchandra Siras; Neerja (2016), a biopic on the courageous flight attendant Neerja Bhanot; and Manjhi - The Mountain Man (2015), on Dashrath Manjhi, who cut through a mountain to give his village access to health care.
Super 30 (education programme) co-founder Anand Kumar hopes that more such films make it to the big screen. He says that his biopic was discussed eight years ago, but had no takers. “Now, things have changed. There are so many people who’re doing great deeds, and I’m glad that Bollywood has taken up such topics,” he adds.
Filmmaker Reema Kagti has penned the screenplay of Gully Boy. She says that these films work because “there’s a demand for real life heroes”.
Manjhi director Ketan Mehta feels “these stories are more inspiring and they communicate a lot more”. And trade analyst Komal Nahta believes that common people with uncommon achievements are very attractive. “Viewers,” he says, “are elated to see such a story, feeling that they can also do something like that.”
Sidharth Malhotra plays Captain Vikram Batra (inset)
Akshay Kumar plays the
role of Arunachalam Muruganantham
Hrithik Roshan plays mathematician Anand Kumar (inset)