The Bollywood Bio-Pic : 5 Upcoming Movies Inspired By True Stories & Real People

Published by Shah Shahid on

Bollywood seems to have become infatuated with real life incidents as the subjects of their movies. Although, to be fair, the industry has been subvertively doing this for years. The most obvious representations of real life people can be found in the gangster movies of filmmaking guru Ram Gopal Varma, with the most notable being his representation of Bal Thackeray as the title character of Subash Nagare in ‘Sarkar’.

More recently though, Bollywood is full on adapting the stories of real life people and true stories that aren’t about patriotic heroes or historic Royalty, as the subject of their films. 2015 saw the release, critical and commercial success of films like ‘Main Aur Charles’, ‘Talvar’ & ‘Manjhi – The Mountain Man’, and 2016 seems to be continuing the trend.

This year has also seen releases of the Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Airlift’, based on the extraction of Indians nationals living in Kuwait during it’s invasion. And just last week, Sonam Kapoor has been garnering massive critical appreciation for her role in ‘Neerja’, based on the true story of how the courage of an air hostess saved countless lives during a hostage crisis on a plane.

So let’s take a look at a few more upcoming Bollywood movies of 2016 that are based on true stories and real people. 


Directed by the immensely talented director of ‘Shahid‘ & ‘Citylights‘, ‘Aligarh‘ is the story about a University professor being victimized and fired from his job, simply because of his sexual orientation. Manoj Bajpayee plays the character of Dr. Srinavas Siras a dedicated professor quietly struggling to be accepted as a gay man. The film also stars the new generation of underrated art house actors, Rakjumar Rao as a journalist chronicling the injustice done to Siras. Hansal Mehta is known for his hard hitting movies about uncomfortable subjects, and ‘Aligarh‘ looks to put that harsh spotlight on the issue of Penal Code 377, which makes it illegal to be a Homosexual in India, and the many lives affected by it.


The film has already opened in multiple Film Festivals internationally, and gained major critical acclaim by many Reviewers and critics. ‘Aligarh’ is set to open worldwide on February 26th, 2016.


After ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, another Bollywood sports bio-pic will be making its way into theatres this year. Although, one wonders that with both cricket and Bollywood being massively popular in India, why it’s taken so long to make a biographical movie about a famous cricketer?

Azhar‘ focuses on the career of famed Indian cricketer Mohamed Azharuddin, and depict the time in his life and career that contained his scandal with match fixing which resulted in a lifetime ban from the sport. The man himself is a bold and outspoken person who attributed his religion as being one of the reasons he was treated unfairly during his career.

Starring Emraan Hashmi in the titluar role, the movie is directed by the same guy who directed cringeworthy films like ‘Boss‘ (2013) and ‘Blue‘ (2009). Given that it’s also being produced by Balaji Motion Pictures rom Ekta Kapoor, I don’t expect this movie to be anything more than fluff capitalizing on the bio-pic genre’s success. While Hashmi has proven himself to be a very capable actor, his refusal to do movies with better makers, frustrates me.

Azhar‘ releases May 13th, 2016 and also stars Lara Dutta, Huma Qureshi & Prachi Desai.


Featuring one of my favourite Bollywood actors, ‘Sarabjit‘ is about the story of a lone Indian farmer who accidentally wanders into Pakistani territory, and is then arrested and tried as an Indian spy and sentenced to death. The real life incident chronicles the story of his sister Dalbit Kaur’s attempts to prove his innocence and get him released.

Randeep Hooda plays the titular role of Sarabjit, and has recently been in the news for going through some intense weight loss for the role, ala Christian Bale in ‘The Machinist’. The dedicated actor is only one of the reasons to watch this movie, as his sister is played by none other than the overrated Ashwariya Rai Bachchan. Despite the reasons why I am not a fan of the actress, ‘Sarabjit‘ marks the start of a trend in the veteran actress’s career of choosing movies that are completely different than the ones she’s made a name for herself with.

Sarabjit‘ is directed by Omung Kumar, whose previous film ‘Mary Kom’ I have a few issues with. Hoping he can do a better job with this one. ‘Sarabjit’ also stars Richa Chaddha and releases May 20th, 2016.


With ‘Chak De India!’ being critically considered one of Shahrukh Khan’s better roles of the decade, it’s no surprise that there’s another sport bio-pic releasing this year. The Captain of the current Indian team gets his own bio-pic with makers that are a lot more reliable than the first film.


Sushanth Singh Rajput (‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!’) becomes Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as the film tells the apparent untold story of the leader of the Indian Cricket team. The person in question, just like ‘Azhar‘ is very much alive, but unlike that movie, Dhoni is still very active in the world of cricket, which makes a bio-pic about his life seem odd.

However, any concerns about this movie can be put to rest as it’s directed by Neeraj Pandey, director of consistently interesting films such as ‘A Wednesday’, Special 26′ & last year’s ‘Baby’.

‘M. S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’ releases September 2nd, 2016 and also stars Anupam Kher & Bhoomika Chawla. (‘Tere Naam’)


Uber Bollywood actor extraordinnaire Aamir Khan comes out with a movie this year, and it’s based the exploits of Mahavir Singh Phogat, a former Indian wrestler who coached both his daughters into Gold Medal winning Olympic careers, also in wrestling. Which isn’t even important, because any film with Aamir Khan is an anticipated film of that year.

It’s an unusual subject, but not surprising given the rise of physically empowering woman leads in ‘Mary Kom‘ and more recently ‘Saala Khadoos‘. ‘Dangal’ has a star cast of almost all unknown actors besides Khan, and is directed by relative newcomer, Nitesh Tiwari.


While it’s a unique concept, the only interesting thing about ‘Dangal‘ is basically that it’s the next Aamir Khan movie. Especially given that the most hype about this movie so far is his massive weight gain for the role of the said former Wrestler, who does the complete opposite of Randeep Hooda in ‘Sarabjit’.

Let me know if there are any Bollywood movies that are based on real life incidents or people that I may have forgotten releasing in 2016.

Share your most anticipated bio-pic of this year in the comments below, or on Twitter @theshahshahid

Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


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