Bhaag Milkha Bhaag reignited our interest in biopics, Amar Singh Chamkila took it to the next level…Punjab’s tryst with this genre continues with Bedi: The Name You Know. The Story You Don't : The Tribune India

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Bhaag Milkha Bhaag reignited our interest in biopics, Amar Singh Chamkila took it to the next level…Punjab’s tryst with this genre continues with Bedi: The Name You Know. The Story You Don't

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag reignited our interest in biopics, Amar Singh Chamkila took it to the next level…Punjab’s tryst with this genre continues with Bedi: The Name You Know. The Story You Don't

Amar Singh Chamkila



Sheetal

A biopic on India’s first female IPS officer Kiran Bedi, titled Bedi: The Name You Know. The Story You Don’t, is in the making. Writer-director Kushaal Chawla says it’s an honour for him to helm a film on this tough cop from Amritsar.

Bedi isn’t the first Punjabi to fire a filmmaker’s imagination and she won’t be the last for sure. Punjab’s real-life heroes have inspired many biopics. Right from the life of the legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh captured by different directors to Shoojit Sircar’s biopic Sardar Udham to Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, to Omung Kumar’s Sarabjit to Ram Madhvani’s Neerja, to the recent Imtiaz Ali’s Amar Singh Chamkila — the list is endless.

Just in case you missed any of these films, we bring you a list of biopics to binge watch...

The Legend of Bhagat Singh

The legendary Bhagat Singh has inspired many biopics, but the one that stands out is Ajay Devgn-starrer The Legend of Bhagat Singh. The Rajkumar Santoshi directorial captures the journey of the titular character and his role in the freedom struggle against the British Raj.

Sardar Udham

This thrilling biopic follows the life of freedom fighter Udham Singh and how the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 impacts him. In this Shoojit Sircar directorial, Vicky Kaushal’s portrayal of Udham Singh was widely appreciated. The film won five National Film Awards.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

The Flying Sikh of India Milkha Singh’s story is brought to life by director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and actor Farhan Akhtar. As Akhtar relives Milkha’s life on reel, it brings back Partition memories, post-Independence refugee situation and also how a young Punjabi boy copes with it and becomes an internationally acclaimed athlete.

Neerja

Neerja

Directed by Ram Madhvani and starring Sonam Kapoor and Shabana Azmi, this 2016 film follows the life and the heroic death of the Chandigarh-born flight purser Neerja Bhanot, who was posthumously honoured with the Ashoka Chakra.

Soorma

Soorma

The 2018 film revolves around Arjuna awardee Sandeep Singh, who led the hockey team of India. Sandeep accidently got injured by a gunshot and became wheelchair-bound for almost a year. But through sheer dedication , he made his way back in the national team. Diljit Dosanjh plays Sandeep in this Shaad Ali-directorial.

Sarbjit

Sarbjit

It stars Randeep Hooda in the titular role of Sarabjit Singh. Directed by Omung Kumar, it narrates the true story of an Indian farmer, who crossed the Indo-Pak border in an intoxicated state in 1990 and was subsequently convicted by Pakistani authorities.

Harjeeta

The film chronicles the passionate tale of Indian hockey player Harjeet Singh and brings out about his incredible journey from being a truck driver to the captain of the Indian Hockey Team. Ammy Virk plays the protagonist in this Vicky Kumar Arora-helmed biopic.

Sajjan Singh Rangroot

Sajjan Singh Rangroot

Another Diljit-starrer film, it puts forth the story of Sikh soldier Sajjan Singh Rangroot, who fought in the British Indian Army against the Germans in World War I.

Sardar Udham

Manto

With Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the titular role, this 2018 Nandita Das directorial is based on the life of Saadat Hasan Manto, who was born in Ludhiana and was active both in British India and Pakistan. It received international recognition at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

Amar Singh Chamkila

It is based on Punjabi singer Amar Singh Chamkila. The biopic explores both the fame and run-in with controversies that Chamkila experienced in his lifetime and also the tragic assassination that followed. This Imtiaz Ali-directorial has Diljit dosanjh playing the lead role.

The Legend

of Bhagat Singh

Best picks

Film critic Taran Adarsh rates Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is one of the best Indian biopics ever made. “It’s an incredible story. Not just inspirational, it also has all other entertaining elements, right from emotions, drama to romance to the sportsman spirit. Even great songs! He adds, “Imtiaz Ali too filmed the recent biopic on singer Amar Singh Chamkila effectively. Music is one of the pillars in this one too.”

In the making

Veteran actor Yograj Singh fondly recalls how people loved his character in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. He is now working on a biopic based on his son and former Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh and him. “My son has also given a name to it, The Man of the Longest Hour. They are just waiting for me to okay the final draft. It will be an authentic father-son story.”


Neighbourhood watch

Shershaah

This 2021 biopic of Kargil War hero Vikram Batra from Himachal Pradesh is directed by Vishnuvardhan. Starring Sidharth Malhotra in the lead role, Kiara Advani plays Punjabi kudi Dimple Cheema, Vikram’s love interest.

Dangal

Its narrative encapsulates the lives of gold-medallist Phogat sisters – Geeta and Babita. Aamir Khan plays the role of their father Mahendra Singh Phogat. Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, the movie challenges the prejudices against women in Haryana. It is one of the highest grossing films of all times.

Spotlight

Producer-actor Rahul Mittra did a cameo in Amar Singh Chamkila. He says, “Of late, non-traditional themes from Punjab have once again taken the center-stage in Indian films and on OTT shows. Recent hit films like Animal and Chamkila and OTT shows like CAT, Kohhra and Chamak have dealt with mature themes and genres beyond just romance and drama. With more filmmakers exploring Punjab like never before, it is leading to higher rate of biopics and films being made on Punjabis. Biopics have a higher reliability factor as audiences already have a reference point.”


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