Biopics are the flavour of 2021.
The rights to remake real-life people are lapped up faster than chai at a dhaba in winter.
Wading through the long list of biopics coming up, Subhash K Jha picks the ones likely to make a mark.
Pankaj Tripathi, Kaagaz
Kaagaz tells the unbelievable but true story of villager Lal Bihari (here, renamed Bharat Lal) from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, who is declared dead by the government. He spends 19 years trying to prove that he was alive.
Pankaj gives up playing the goon, and it’s refreshing change to see him play the victim for a change.
When I texted Pankaj to say his latest was bakwas, he sportingly laughed and promised that Kaagaz would make up for it.
Akshay Kumar, Prithviraj
Akshay has never played a historical figure before.
Director Chandraprakash Dwivedi says the actor is a revelation as the legendary king, Prithviraj.
Alia Bhatt, Gangubai Kathiawadi
‘Career-changing’ is how Alia’s performance in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s biopic is being described as.
From her body language to her spoken one, she has transformed into this ballsy madame of a brothel, who makes men pee in their pants with a twitch of her eyebrow.
How does this petite actress manage to be so spectacularly larger-than-life?
Find out for yourself when the film releases this year.
Alia will remind you of Shabana Azmi in Godmother.
Ranveer Singh, ’83
Unlike Pankaj or Alia, who look nothing like the real-life characters they are playing in their films, Ranveer actually resembles Kapil Dev.
Director Kabir Khan tells me Ranveer was so dedicated about becoming the legendary skipper of the 1983 World Cup-winning team on screen that he spent optimum time with Kapil Dev, mastering his craft and conversational style.
We will see his effort when ’83 releases.
Taapsee Pannu, Shabaash Mithu
Taapsee is all set to swing the bat and hit the ball out of the park in Shabaash Mithu, which tells the story of women’s cricket legend Mithali Raj.
She has learnt the game from scratch, just like she learnt hockey for Soorma and running for her role as Rashmi Rocket.
Taapsee’s level of dedication is very fierce indeed.
R Madhavan, Rocketry: The Nambi Effect
Madhavan, who has completed 27 years as an actor, will play ISRO space scientist Dr S Nambi Narayanan in Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, a film Maddy directs himself.
“Nambi Narayanan could build a rocket. I’ve learnt to construct a rocket from scratch,” says Maddy proudly.
In 1994, Dr Narayanan was falsely accused of espionage.
“We are going into every aspect of his life without apology. There’s really no point in doing a biopic unless the complete truth is told,” Madhavan says.
Rocketry: The Nambi Effect has been made in Hindi, Tamil and English.
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