Top 20 Bollywood Movies Based on Real Life Incidents

A very wise man has once said that “Cinema is the mirror and the reflection of the society we live in“. What observations by him made him say so is not known; but the man was right to a large extent. And we are not talking about those highly computer graphics using in superhero movies; but other than that we can say that; yes, it (cinema) is the mirror of the society. Quite often writers have to come up with a plot that makes them sure that the movies based on them will perform quite well on the box office. But sometimes some of the real life events inspire these writers and film makers to come up with a movie by which they can justify the saying “truth is stranger than fiction”.

Airlift that has released this Friday is an example of such real life incidents which have inspired filmmakers to present in front of the audience; the events that depicted the biggest rescue mission in the world. The movie is getting critical and commercial acclaims all over the world. So here we present in front of you; Top 20 Bollywood movies that are inspired from the real life incidents:

20. Bandit Queen (1994)

Bandit Queen (1994)

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This movie was released on 30th of June in 1995 in USA. This Shekhar Kapoor directorial is based on the real life incidents of Phoolan Devi; who belonged to lower castes and after facing sexual abuse and discrimination in the society, undergoing various events she becomes the leader of a gang of dacoits and takes her revenge. The movie is so spell bounding that even the harsh critics like Rotten Tomatoes have given the movie a 100% rating. Seema Biswas appeared in the title role and she portrayed the role with such an intensity that it was hard to differentiate her from the real Phoolan Devi after watching the movie.

19. Bawandar (2000)

Bawandar (2000)

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This 2000 released Jag Mundra directorial is based on the true events from the lives of Bhanwari Devi who was a rape victim from Rajasthan. Nandita Das portrays the role of Bahanwari Devi and she has excellently portrayed the lead character who seeks out for justice while her journey for the justice is filled with trauma, public humiliation and legal injustice. The true events of this gang rape raised a lot of questions in the real life too towards the social situation of women and the movie raised the same question with it too. The movie however raised a lot of controversies amongst police, women rights organizations and Gurjar community. However the movie got a lot of international awards and returning to India collected good amounts at box office too.

18. Firaaq (2008)

Firaaq (2008)

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Nandita Das who was the lead actress of the above mentioned movie turned director from this movie. The movie was received quite well critically and when you have actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Naseeruddin Shah, Raghubir Yadav and Paresh Rawal, you know the movie is good. The movie is based on the aftermath of the incidents of 2002 riots in Gujarat and depicted the impact of the riots on the everyday lives of people. The movie won 2 national and various other international film awards.

17. No One Killed Jessica (2009)

No One Killed Jessica (2009)

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All of us remember the Jessica Lal murder case which was in news a few years ago; the movie is based on that. Rani Mukherjee plays the role of a reporter investigating the case while Vidhya Balan portrays the role of the elder sister of Jessica; Sabrina Lal. The movie was received well amongst the critics and the viewers and Rani’s tremendous acting bought her the Filmfare award for Best Supporting Actress. The movie shows how the accused was once acquitted from charges at first but as a result of rising protests nationwide; the case was not only reopened but the accused was also sentenced.

16. Paan Singh Tomar (2012)

Paan Singh Tomar (2012)

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Irrfan Khan’s acting potential was utilized to its core by the director Tigmanshu Dhulia in this movie. The movie is based on the life of Paan Singh who was an Indian soldier, gold medalist at National Games and also represented India in international athletic events. Turn of some events makes him turn to a dacoit and how he avenges the murder of his mother by the murderers is the story line of the movie. Irrfan’s intense and strong acting bagged him the National Award for Best while the movie also received the National Award for Best Feature Film.

15. Special 26 (2013)

Special 26 (2013)

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This Akshay Kumar starrer was directed by Neeraj Pandey and had Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpai, Jimmy Shergill and Kajal Aggarwal in important roles. The film is based on the real life events of the famous 1987 Opera House heist when a certain number of people in a group posed as CBI officers and executed an income tax raid on the jewelry showroom of a jeweler in Mumbai. The movie was so good that most of the film critics gave it a rating above 4 out of 5.

14. Shahid (2013)

Shahid (2013)

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Rajkumar Rao portrayed a role with such an intensity and excellence that established him as one of the finest actors of the modern generation. Anurag Kashyap who is famous for his dark realistic movies was producer of the movie while Hansal Mehta directed it. Mohammad Zeeshan, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Kay Kay Menon were amongst the supporting casts. The movie is based on the life of lawyer and human rights activist Shahid Azmi who was assassinated in Mumbai in 2010. The movie bagged National Awards for Best Actor and Best Director.

13. Madras Café (2013)

Madras Café

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It looks like 2013 was the year when directors and producers were focusing on making movies that are based on the real life events. John Abraham was the lead actor in the movie which sure indicated that this hunk can act too. The movie was set in early 90s when Indian Government intervened in the Sri Lankan Civil War and honorable former PM of India; Rajeev Gandhi was assassinated. The Movie got the National Award for Best Audiography. The film somehow managed to do above average business at Box Office.

12. Talvar (2015)

Talvar (2015)

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This movie is written by Vishal Bhardwaj and directed by Meghna Gulzar. The movie is based on the infamous 2008 Arushi Talvar Murder case in Noida and Irrfan Khan once again shows his full acting potential along with Konkana Sen Sharma and Neeraj Kabi. The film was nominated in 5 categories at Filmfare and received the Filmfare Award for Best Editing. The movie presents in front of audiences; 3 accounts of the case all of which variously portray parents as guilty or innocent.

11. Airlift (2016)

Airlift (2016)

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This movie is released just a few days back and Akshay’s acting and R.K. Menon’s awesome direction. The movie also shows Nimrat Kaur, Purab Kohli and Lena in important roles. This war thriller is based on the biggest civil operation of evacuation of Indians based in Kuwait during the Iraq Kuwait war. The movie shows the struggle of Kuwaiti businessman in rescuing his fellow countrymen and taking them back to India. This real life incident is said to be completed by around 488 flights run by Indian government to rescue the Indians who were trapped in Kuwait during the war.

10. Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007)

Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007)

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This Apoorva Lakhia directorial is based on the 1991 Lokhandwala complex shootout between Mumbai Police and the gangsters. The movie has Sanjay Dutt and Vivek Oberoi in the lead roles while Amitabh Bahcchan, Arbaaz Khan and Suniel Shetty are seen playing other important roles. To avoid some controversies to be associated with the movie; the movie was captioned as “based on true events”. Vivek Oberoi showed that he can perform well given the story and the direction are good in the movie and was even nominated for the Filmfare award of Best Villain.

9. Black Friday (2007)

Black Friday (2007)

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Anurag Kashyap is famous for his dark and realistic movies and this one was no different. In fact this one raised so many controversies that the movie was released after 3 years of its completion and that too with the interference of Supreme Court of India. The movie is based on the 1993 Bombings and is said to be inspired by Hussain Zaidi’s novel of the same name. The movie has been received well and appreciated by critics all over the world and till now the movie boasts of an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie was controversial so even most of the award functions in India kept their distance from it but it collected praises internationally.

8. Guru (2007)

Guru (2007)

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This Mani Ratnam directorial has helped Abhishek Bachchan establish as an actor and cast both Abhishek and his wife Aishwarya in lead roles. Other important roles in the movie are played by R Madhavan, Vidhya Balan and Mithun Chakraborty. The movie is said to be loosely based on the life of Late Dhirubhai Ambani who was the founder of business giant Reliance Industries. The movie portrays the struggle of Gurukant Desai to become the most successful businessman in the country despite being opposed by several people.

7. Rakht Charitra (2010)

Rakht Charitra (2010)

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This movie is once again a film inspired by true events casting Vivek Oberoi in the lead role. This biographical crime film is directed by Ram Gopal Verma and is based on the life of Paritala Ravindra and Maddela Cheruvv Suri. The movie shows explicit scenes of violence which are totally justified as the requirement of the movie. This hit movie casts other actors like Abhimanyu Singh, Sushant Singh, Priyamani and Radhika Apte in important roles too. The film was released in 2 parts and many of the actors in the movie were nominated for their roles in the movie though they didn’t win any notable award.

6. OUATIM (2010)

OUATIM (2010)

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This Indian period gangster film was directed by Milan Luthria and produced by Ekta Kapoor. The movie portray Ajay Devgan and Emraan Hashmi and Randeep Hooda in the lead roles and is said to be loosely based on the lives of real life gangsters Haji Mastan and Dawood Ibrahim played by Sultan and Shoaib respectively in the movie. The movie became hit amongst the people and people were heard citing the dialogues of the movie at that time. though the roles were appreciated by many; the actors in the movie failed to grab any big award for the film.

5. Not A love Story (2011)

Not A love Story (2011)

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This RGV directed movie was based on the gruesome murder of Neeraj Grover in 2008 by M.L. Gerome and Maria Susairaj in which the important roles were played by Mahi Gill and Deepak Dobriyal. Though the director claimed that the movie is not a biopic but a mere inspiration from the case but after seeing the film only the names and the characters felt like to be changed and nothing else. Even the shooting of the movie was done in Dheeraj Solitaire building where allegedly Neeraj Grover was killed.

4. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

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This 2 part movie if believed by the local residents is a true story of ugly spats that have happened between the 2 rival gangs here in Dhanbad. The movie that is based on coal mafia is once again a directorial of Anurag Kashyap and with actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Manoj Bajpai, Richa Chadda, Piyush Mishra and Tigmasnhu Dhulia. Movie established stardom for Nawaz and the movie became so popular that it is often regarded as a modern cult film. It was so well received by the audience that they were even urging directors of the movie to make a third installment of the franchise.

3. Shootout at Wadala (2013)

Shootout at Wadala (2013)

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This film is the second in the Shootout Franchise and inspired from true life incidents and the book written by Hussain Zaidi. The movie is based on the famous shootout that happened between the Mumbai Police and mafia gang on 11th of January in 1982 in which the notorious gangster Manya Surve was shot dead by the police. The movie starred John Abraham, Anil Kapoor Manoj Bajpai, Sonu Sood etc but still movie could not create the magic like the previous installment in this series.

2. The Attacks of 26/11 (2013)

The Attacks of 2611 (2013)

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This movie belongs to the genre of docudrama thriller film category and was directed by RGV. The movie is based on the real life incident when the Mumbai’s important regions faced terrorist attacks in 2008. Critics have even appreciated the detailed research of RGV for the characters that are associated with the real life characters like that of Kasab. The movie had an international premiere too in the Berlin International Film Festival.

1. Gulaab Gang (2014)

Gulaab Gang (2014)

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This movie is based on the real life activists from Bundelkhand who go in a group by the same name. The movie was directed by Soumik Sen and was produced by Anubhav Sinha. Main roles in the movie were played by Juhi Chawla and Madhuri Dixit and the movie was seen as the comeback capturing movie for both of these actresses from the 90s. But still the movie was not able to create wonders at the box office and was regarded a flop while on the contrary the documentary from the name Gulabi Gang from 2012 has won a National Film Award.

So these were the Bollywood movies that are inspired from real life incidents and these movies are a clear indication that not only the new line of directors want to make movies that are based on real life incidents but these movies are well received amongst the audiences too.

About the author

Rajkumar Mali

Rajkumar is the Founder of ListoTop.com . He has done MCA from MAISM, Jaipur, India. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, Blogging and Designing ,Sleeping and Freelancing. Get me on Google