Sanitised stories

Bollywood biopics are either adulatory or a whitewash, but there are some exceptions that give hope I saw Sanju on the day of its release and it left me cold. It reaffirmed my view that Bollywood rarely gets biopics right. Bollywood biopics are either adulatory or a complete whitewash because we don’t like to see our heroes flawed. A flawed hero, after all, is Bollywood blasphemy. Often these films are designed to give a new lease of life to the persons they are modelled on, or they transform into mouthpieces for the wronged central characters for whom they are making amends. Watch Daddy , based on the life of gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli, or Haseena Parkar , based on the life of Dawood Ibrahim’s sister, Haseena Parkar. These characters are not heroes by any stretch of the imagination, but if the film is a biopic, or is even loosely based on some real-life account, Bollywood follows a formula. Even Mary Kom , based on the boxer, or Rang Rasiya , based on the life of Raja Ravi Varma, furthers the myths created around the eponymous central character who is rendered a one-dimensional hero prototype. You ought not to think of these characters as regular people but as demi-gods or goddesses you must admire.

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