[dropcap]B[/dropcap]iopics have become a raging trend in the Hindi film industry. The success of films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Paan Singh Tomar has made commercial filmmakers immensely interested in real life celebrities and their stories. The films based on biographies not just entertain us but also motivate us to keep fighting and move forward in life. For decades, we have seen many historical biopics made on freedom fighters like Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi, Subash Chandra Bose, Mangal Pandey and so on but its only recently that Indian directors have finally shifted focus towards personalities from sports, media and other fields.

Bhaag-Milkha-BhaagWith films like Chak De India (inspired from the life of hockey coach Mir Ranjan Negi), The Dirty Picture (a biopic on south Indian actress Silk Smitha) and Shahid (based on the biography of a noted Indian lawyer and humans right activist Shahid Azmi) getting into the limelight, we look forward to a promising output of real cinema from Bollywood in the coming future. Several biopics are already in production and set to release in the coming months including the Priyanka Chopra starrer based on boxer Mary Kom’s life, Pocket Dynamo produced by Riteish Deshmukh and centered on the legendary wrestler Kashba Jadhav, Anurag Basu’s biopic on Kishore Kumar starring Ranbir Kapoor, Vidya Balan starrer biopic on carnatic vocalist MS Subbulakshmi and Akshay Kumar’s expected portrayal of the celebrated wrestler-actor Dara Singh.

While Bollywood gears to cater to the audiences with these interesting biopics, Pandolin presents a list of ten fascinating Indians whose life stories can turn into spectacular Hindi films.

Dhyan Chand

Dhyan Chand: He was an iconic hockey player who had such great control over dribbling the ball that no one could ever match it. Till date, he is remembered as a magician of Indian hockey who brought home three Olympic gold medals. He learned to play hockey when he joined the Indian army at the age of 16. Dhyan Chand used to practice during the night under moonlight as there were no floodlights at that time. He was so enigmatic in the hockey field that people started doubting that his stick was made of something else other than wood. In Holland his stick was even broken to check if there was any magnet or glue inside it. Also while playing one of his final matches against Germany, Adolf Hitler offered to buy his stick just because he was mesmerized by his game. Such was the charisma and impact of this greatest wizard of Indian hockey. His autobiography “Goal” is already in the talks for being adapted into a film with Shahrukh Khan playing the lead.

Shakuntala Devi: Popularly known as the ‘human computer’, this wonder woman was not only an incomparable mathematician but also an astrologer, activist and a prolific writer. At the age of three, she started accompanying her father who was a circus artist and taught her interesting card tricks. She was mesmerized by her father’s performances and soon developed a love for numbers. By the age of 6, Shakuntala Devi had her first major show at the University of Mysore and shot to fame by her complex problem-solving skills without the aid of any mechanical device. This miraculous success story of a girl, who couldn’t attend school in her younger days but grew up to become India’s greatest mathematician, certainly needs to be chronicled in the form of a film.

vsbamrita71Amrita Shergill: She was a renowned Indian painter who was born in Hungary but all her paintings reflected her vivid love for India and particularly the people living in it. Her subjects varied from the poor Indian villagers and beggars to women’s feelings. Sometimes known as India’s Frida Kahlo, Amrita made an early painting called “The Torso”, which was a masterly study of a nude that stood out for its bold modeling. She was a charismatic artist who lived life on her own terms and created controversies with her love affairs and unconventional ways. One of her most talked about relationships happened to be with Jawaharlal Nehru who was immensely struck by her beauty and charm. However, he never found a place in her canvas as Amrita thought he was “too good looking” to be painted. Owing to the dramatic life she led, her struggle against great odds and her solitary quest as a woman, the biography of Amrita Shergill will definitely make for a remarkable biopic.

Sheikh Abdullah: Born as a Hindu-Kashmiri pandit who later converted to Islam, Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah was one of the most distinguished political leaders who not only ruled but also loved Kashmir to its core. Called as “Sher-e-Kashmir” i.e. Lion of Kashmir by his ardent supporters, Abdullah recounted his life journey in an official biography titled “Atish e Chinar”. It is an account of his trials and tribulations, successes and failures, of storms that he weathered and halcyon days. If not for anything else, the story of Abdullah needs to be turned into a biopic for the sheer expression of love; a person can have for a blighted paradise.

RoyArundhati Roy: A famous Indian novelist and social activist who came into limelight with her first novel “The God of Small Things”, Arundhati has always faced criticism owing to her subversive nature and anti-national thinking. A free-spirited lady who left her home at the age of sixteen, enrolled at the Delhi School of Architecture, portrayed the role of a tribal girl in a Hindi film, wrote screenplays for a couple of television series and  finally went on to receive the prestigious Booker prize in the year 1997. Since then, she has been writing on political issues and varied social topics such as the Narmada Dam project, India’s nuclear weapons and Maoists. Her opinions and speeches have always stirred up debate and got people talking. Even after being jailed for the contempt of court and caught in the sedition controversy over her speeches on Kashmir, this courageous woman stands by what she does. Entailing so much drama in her life, Arundhati Roy is surely one such personality that calls for a biopic.

Protima Bedi: A flamboyant ramp model and a classical Indian dancer, this popular fashion celebrity faced severe criticism for the choices she made both in her personal and professional lives. Best remembered for her advertising campaign for the Cine Blitz magazine in the year 1974, Protima Bedi raised many eyebrows when she ran nude in a public area at Juhu beach in Mumbai. Much before her marriage to Kabir Bedi, she moved into a live-in relationship with him, an act that was considered a taboo in the society during that time. She led an extremely colorful and liberated life but the last years of her journey were really tough, lonesome and pathetic. Her autobiography, “Timepass”, based on her journals and letters, collated and published by her daughter, Pooja Bedi, is already on the hit list of many filmmakers for getting adapted into a movie.

Indra_NooyiIndra Nooyi: One of the most powerful women on Forbes magazine’s list, who now runs the world’s second-largest soft drink company, PepsiCo, once worked as a receptionist to make her living abroad. With little money and almost no safety net, this determined Indian girl went on to pursue higher studies in the US and also managed to secure a pretty good job. Rejected at her first job, Indra wore a Sari for her next interview after being advised by her professor to be just herself and stick to what she was comfortable with. Till date, she has followed this philosophy in her career and hasn’t changed her basic beliefs. Despite the historic success that she has achieved, Indra Nooyi still remains a simple Indian woman who calmly manages both her job and family responsibilities. This grand inspiring tale of a young Indian girl who breaks free from a conservative background in Chennai and achieves so much in her life, will make for an engaging and inspiring biopic.

Sahir Ludhianvi: A sensitive lyricist, who chose to remain a bachelor throughout his life, fascinated listeners with his marvelous compositions and etched a permanent mark in the Hindi film industry. After his intense and failed relationship with Punjabi writer Amrita Pritam, he resolved not to marry and became an alcoholic. Sahir and Amrita were so passionately in love with each other that she used to smoke the cigarette butts left behind by him after their meeting. Also, during one press conference, she wrote his name a hundred times on sheets of paper. Their obsessed and intense love story, which never met its end, definitely calls for a silver screen version so that the world could know about it.


Osho-Rajneesh: Though he was born to Jain parents yet he never subscribed to any religion during his lifetime. Regarded as the most controversial spiritual leader of the 20th century, Osho contradicted all the traditional ideas of sex, marriage, family and relationships.  He criticized the concept of nationalism, socialism and made fun of many religious as well as political leaders including Mahatma Gandhi. His entire life was surrounded by controversy and his teachings aroused anger and opposition around the world. He was a philosopher and public speaker who had a great international following but his own country rejected him. Till date, many documentaries have been made on the life of this Indian mystic guru but nobody has yet shown the guts to make a full-length feature film on him.

M.F. Husain: He was one of the prominent painters of India who created thousands of masterpieces on diverse subjects like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata, and motifs of Indian urban as well as rural life. He was a blessed artist who knew exactly how to portray human feelings and make paintings that speak for themselves. However, Husain was not only known for his incredible artwork but also for lot of controversial matters. His nude portraits of Hindu gods and goddesses garnered lots of criticism, which eventually forced him to go on a self-imposed exile and settle in Dubai. A glorious account of this maestro’s journey is must needed for the generations to come and revisit his paintings.

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