Of course, you must have watched Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl Netflix movie by now! Who would not, right? Why did you watch it, though? Was it your interest in the Indian Air Force?
Or was it your desire to see that woman, enfettered by the traditions of the past, fight her own battles and overcome them? I know, for most of us, it was the latter.
But all your aspirations to be that one heroic woman amidst a bunch of male chauvinistic pigs were doused when Gunjan Saxena herself admitted that she did not face any gender-based discrimination in the IAF at the organizational level.
It is not the first time that such glaring fallacies have been used to make the story appealing to the audience.
The excessive and unnecessary dramatization received scathing criticism. The filmmakers failed to invest enough screen time in her mental and emotional intelligence, according to the film critics.
The most controversial biopic this last decade was that of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt. Movie critics and film buffs have gone to the extent to admit that the film is accurate by a maximum of 5 percent. Then there are other reviewers who have refused to categorize the movie as a biopic and have called it a ‘mere PR stunt’.
The movie has not only overtly eliminated essential characters from the film but also has blatantly sympathized with the hero on all the controversial topics.
For most of the film, the actors and the writers did well to translate the strength and endurance of the player and how he survived a train accident and subsequently led India to win the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and was named Player of the Tournament.
In the end, the film exaggerated the role of Sandeep Singh in winning the match, altering the number of goals scored by him, etc.
It is significant because this one inaccuracy is enough to undermine the efforts of the player to get back to his feet and ends up equating a player’s worth with that of his contribution to each game.
M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story
There has been an inherent tendency of sports biopics to misrepresent facts and information. M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story is no different.
The movie did not even make a passing mention of his past relationships with a few celebrities to eschew any plausible smear campaign. The makers also did not feature his elder brother in the biopic.
Besides, there are a few contestations regarding some dates and his game performance, keeping in mind the filmmaker’s use of his creative liberty.
Sonam Kapoor-starer Neerja also had to face the same ordeal. The film did receive over-pouring praise from all over the world and eventually went on to win various accolades.
But at the same time, its accuracy was questioned by several crew members of that flight and claimed it as an ‘undeserved adulation’ for Neerja.
This 2016 release received a similar allegation of attempting a PR stunt to clean out Azharuddin’s name. The movie quite craftily dealt with the match-fixing scandal of 2000 and tried its best to clear its image at the cost of other established cricketers like Ravi Shastri.
One of the first reviews that this film received said ‘not lifted from facts’. Among the various controversies, the most prominent one was the trivialization of the role of the Ministry of External Affairs in the mass evacuation of 1,70,000 Indians from Kuwait in 1990.
Why Aren’t Biopics 100% Fact-Based?
One of the most significant factors that motivate these flights of fiction is box-office success.
Sometimes, the filmmaker also has to walk on a thin line between telling the truth and not causing any harm to their public image.
It is not always in the hands of the director and producer to demonize or divinize the character in question. Beyond the sphere of creative liberty lies the stance of the stakeholders associated with any biopic, that is, family and friends of the personage, who need to accredit the narrative chosen by the filmmaker.
But everybody would agree to the fact that if a story is significant enough to be recapitulated, it should be done anyway, even if it’s at the cost of revision or disclosure of a cloak-and-dagger truth.
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