Biopics are all the rage at the minute. But how accurate are these biopics in terms of facts? Movies are not real life, so it’s understandable that making a film about real life will cheat on a few details.
When a movie is “based on a true story,” it won’t be 100% accurate… So does it really matter if biopics embellish the truth a little now and then?
But there’s a difference between making a narrative digestible and straight lying. These popular biopics ever made have either exaggerated details for dramatics or completely made things up.
1- Gunjan Saxena
The recently web-only released film Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl courted controversy after The Indian Air Force (IAF) has objected to the portrayal of its work culture in it. They said that in a bid to glorify the screen character of ex-Flight Lt Gunjan Saxena, the film “presented some situations that are misleading and portray an inappropriate work culture, especially against women in the IAF.”
Many batchmates of IAF Officer Gunjan Saxena have also pointed out that the infrastructural disadvantages and the pervasiveness of the gender bias depicted in the movie were not actually the case. Ever since the institutions have opened their doors to women, they have promised to not discriminate against them for their gender.
Diljit Dosanjh starrer Soorma was based on the life of the Indian Hockey Team’s ex-captain, Sandeep Singh, who is one of India’s best sports stars. After starting his international career in 2004, Singh quickly gained notoriety in the international circuit. Just as Singh was establishing himself, tragedy struck. An accidental gunshot on a train journey left Singh paralyzed for a year. He didn’t give up and remained determined to return to the field one day.
Eventually, after a long and arduous procedure of surgeries and physiotherapy, Singh accomplished something remarkable. He came back from being paralyzed and retook the field of hockey. Things got better for Sandeep Singh when he was appointed as the captain of the Indian hockey team. Under his leadership, India went on to win the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with Singh being named as the player of the tournament.
Unfortunately, as has been the trend, Soorma also told some flat-out lies to the audiences who had gone to watch the movie. The movie digressed from the facts and showed that in the final match, Sandeep scored multiple goals. That was not the case, but he was instrumental throughout the game and had many assists which led to India’s win.
In reality, Sandeep Singh was actually the highest scorer in the tournament, but it was his leadership skills and technical knowledge of the game that orchestrated the win for India.
Dangal also digressed from the facts and showed an excessively tense final involving Geeta Phogat. In the movie, Phogat comes from 1-5 behind to win 6-5. In reality, Phogat walked home with the gold medal after an 8-0 victory over her rival. The rivals she faced difficulty against were also villains to make Geeta’s achievement more appealing to the audience. They were shown to resort to underhand techniques during the bout and mocking Geeta outside the wrestling mat.
Azhar Mohammad was accused of match-fixing and later confessed to the CBI that he did take part in it. According to sources at the time, after initially denying all accusations of match-fixing, Azhar broke down after the CBI showed him evidence of his extensive links with the Indian underworld.
“Haan, maine match banaya tha,” he had admitted.
The movie absolved all his mistakes and portrayed him to be a hero who only took 1 crore rupees to prevent the fixers from reaching the rest of the team. In the movie, he doesn’t adhere to what he’s been paid for and returns the money post the win.
In the movie, the media is blatantly blamed for twisting Sanjay’s involvement in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case. It gives the impression that the media was on a witch-hunt of sorts, and that Sanjay was actually not involved with the underworld and neither were any guns recovered from his home.
The truth is that the reportage of the case was inconsequential, and there was sufficient evidence that suggested that he abetted the crimes he was accused of. Not only that, his many misogynistic and patriarchal remarks about his sisters and daughter Trishala also failed to find time in the film.