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Spurt in biopics on sportsmen - for love of sports or money?

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Spurt in biopics on sportsmen - for love of sports or money?

Post by -*Fenil*- on 2014-10-09, 15:23

Biopics on sports stars are among the flavours of the
season in Bollywood. With the box-office success of
"Mary Kom", more such movies are in the pipeline and
experts admit such films are inspirational and find an
easy connect with viewers. But they caution that a herd
mentality won't guarantee success.
In the pipeline are movies on Dhyan Chand and
Mahender Singh Dhoni.
If Karan Johar, known for his glamorous extravaganzas,
has confirmed that he will back the film on hockey
legend Dhyan Chand, Neeraj Pandey is wielding the
megaphone for "MS Dhoni - The Untold Story", about the
Indian cricket captain, with Sushant Singh
Rajput"> Sushant Singh Rajput in the lead role.
"No hidden secret behind it. They are making them
because such movies are working on the box office,"
PVR Pictures COO Deepak Sharma told IANS.
"Biopics are inspirational. People from all walks of life
feel associated with their personality. Families also
don't mind taking their kids to such movies as they
know they will be clean movies," he added.
Trade analyst Komal Nahta labels this herd mentality,
but admits that well-narrated stories usually win the
appreciation of viewers.
"There's this herd mentality in the industry. Everybody
tends to run in the direction of successful movies,"
Nahta told IANS.
However, he insists the principle remains the same.
"Good films will work and bad won't. All these films did
well because of good filmmaking. They were well
enacted with the right amount of excitement and
emotional connect and not just because they were
biopics. It doesn't mean that any biopic on an actor or a
sportsperson will work.
"Years ago, there was a film on an athlete Ashwini
Nachappa titled 'Aswani', but it bombed miserably. So
it's not the genre that decides the success, but the
filmmaking," he added.
The latest biopic to hit the right chord with the audience
was " Mary Kom", about five-time world boxing champ
M.C. Mary Kom. Set designer Omung Kumar's decision
to turn director with "Mary Kom" was worth a risk as it
marked a successful beginning for him and also set the
producers' cash registers ringing.
The film, with Bollywood's glamorous star Priyanka
Chopra in the title role, raked in Rs.28.32 crore in its
opening weekend and its success has strengthened
filmmakers' faith in such movies.
Last year, "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag ", which saw Farhan
Akhtar reliving the life of former Olympian Milkha Singh -
widely known as the Flying Sikh - not only took home a
string of awards but also did a whopping business of
over Rs.100 crore.
The film's director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra said: "It's
a great sign that the audience's taste is changing and
evolving. It's the country which is changing and that is
reflecting in our movies today."
It's not only the big starrers which spun gold by
immortalising an athlete's life.
Director Tigmanshu Dhulia's "Paan Singh Tomar " was a
small budget film but it was raved about in the
international film circuit. The Irrfan Khan starrer, about a
soldier and legendary runner turned into a Chambal
bandit, also became a box-office bonanza.
Bollywood has come a long way - from depicting
glamorous and extravagant fairy tales to modest real-life
stories where everything is not picture perfect.
Yes, masses still prefer masala movies, but real-life
stories are also becoming popular.
The genre of sports-based movies were there
previously, but rather sporadically. Who can forget
Prakash Jha 's gripping 1983 drama "Hip Hip Hurray" -
with the teacher-student clash as its theme where
football played the trucemaker - or Aamir Khan 's Oscar
nominated period drama " Lagaan(2001) ", which revolved
around cricket.
In 2005, "Iqbal", an inspirational film by Nagesh
Kukunoor, about a cricket-obsessed dumb-mute boy's
grit and determination, was lapped up by all and sundry.
However, many feel that 2007 release "Chak De India",
loosely based on hockey coach Mir Ranjan Negi, was
the gamechanger. There were many high points in the
film - director Shimit Amin brought the life of ostracised
hockey player Mir Ranjan Negi on screen with ease,
while Shah Rukh Khan ditched his romantic image to
essay the coach's role with conviction.
According to the website of Yash Raj Films, "Chak De
India" collected Rs.125 crore ($35 million) worldwide.
PVR's Sharma said that when one talks about sports
figures like Mary Kom, Milkha Singh and Dhoni there is a
national pride attached to it.
"Audience can relate to the story like from zero to hero
or someone with no resources making it so big," he

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