COM­MON­MAN STO­RIES ARE IN­SPIR­ING BOL­LY­WOOD

A bunch of biopics this year and in the re­cent past high­light the ex­tra­or­di­nary sto­ries of or­di­nary peo­ple

Hindustan Times (Gurgaon) - City - - FRONT PAGE - Juhi Chakraborty ■ juhi.chakraborty@htlive.com

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.”

PHOTO: SAN­JEEV VERMA/HT

Sid­harth Mal­ho­tra plays Cap­tain Vikram Ba­tra (inset)

PHOTO: MANOJ VERMA/HT

Ak­shay Ku­mar plays the

role of Arunacha­lam Mu­ru­ganan­tham

Hrithik Roshan plays math­e­ma­ti­cian Anand Ku­mar (inset)

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