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Do biopics actually bring due credits to the real heroes?
These days, it is raining biopics in Bollywood; and that is worth a few rounds of celebration. Films are a mirror to the society and given how cinema in India moulds and influences popular minds, it is crucial that real life sagas be told through films. Biopics surely do that. But one question still remains. While they give us food for thought and the performers garner fame and appreciation from all corners, what about the man behind the real story, the man whose story is being told?
Just a couple of years ago, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag‘ took the film industry by a storm after it presented to us an unbelievably intense and power-packed performance by Farhan Akhtar, and a beautifully crafted narration of athlete Milkha Singh’s life. Milkha Singh possesses the glory of being the first ever Indian athlete to bag a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, and remained the only one to have won so until Krishna Poonia won one at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Singh, also known as the Flying Sikh, spent early years of his life amidst immense poverty and hardships, on the backdrop of a complex socio-political backdrop. There was no way we could not give his story a watch. ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ went on to become a blockbuster. For a few days, Milkha Singh was again in headlines and we were reminded of his greatness
You sure remember Priyanka Chopra‘s ‘Mary Kom‘ . It remains one of Chopra’s finest performances ever. Belonging to the Kom tribe in Manipur, Mary Kom remains the only female boxer to have won a medal in each of the six world championships, and grabbed a medal in 2012 Olympics too. A figure worth celebrating and a success story worth sharing, right? The lady had her phone ringing continuously for a few months, until ‘Mary Kom’ the film released. She was also brought aboard by a multi-billionaire Indian brand to promote one of their products.
We probably have never questioned ourselves as to what the purpose of a biopic is. Is it only to spend three hours of pseudo-inspiration and then forget it? Or is it to spin the extraordinary out of the straw and be enriched with it?
We hate to say this. As the films have faded and we have new means of Entertainment to trip on, we no longer care how a boxer who put so many things on edge to place her passion first, or an old athlete who still lives by the golden days of his life, is doing.
Or, let us talk about ‘Manjhi: The Mountain Man’. Do you even care to know if the poor man from Bihar who built a Road amidst mountains single-handedly, was given his due ever?
The latest one to join the list is Manoj Bajpayee-starrer ‘Budhia Singh: Born To Run’, a film on a boy from Orissa who at the age of five, became world’s youngest marathon runner. It will take us a few months to forget the film and even less to forget the boy.
Why bother about them, you say? Aren’t they the real inspirations, we ask? The next time you see a little not-so-privileged girl in some part of India with shiny determined eyes wanting to be a boxer some day, will you tell her how Mary Kom fought? Will ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ be the catalyst to a young boy’s dream of running, running faster and not stopping ever? What an achiever actually wants is to set examples and be remembered, rather than gaining momentary fame.
If only biopics could teach us to choose the true champions…
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