Top Indian biographical films on controversial characters

New Delhi: Bollywood has been representing Indian cinema worldwide for decades, and many of our filmmakers took up the task of studying real-life characters to make biopics. While most heroic personalities made it to the list, stories of many ordinary or grey characters remained untold. Some braved the way and decided to capture the lives of some controversial characters who made headlines for the wrong reasons.

Here’s a list:

Omerta (2018): This biographical crime drama directed by Hansal Mehta, has Rajkumar Rao in the role of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British terrorist of Pakistani descent who plotted and murdered Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.


Aligarh (2016): Based on the true story of Ramchandra Siras, a professor of Marathi at the Aligarh Muslim University, who was suspended on grounds of morality, the film directed by Hansal Mehta has Manoj Bajpayee and Rajklumar Rao in lead roles.

Paan Singh Tomar (2012): A biopic in the life of an Indian soldier, athlete, and baghee (rebel)who was a seven-time national steeplechase champion in the 1950s and 1960s, and represented India at the 1958 Asian Games. After a premature retirement from the army, he gained notoriety as a dacoit when he resorted to banditry after a land feud in his village.


The Dirty Picture(2011): This biographical drama film was rumoured to inspired by the life of Silk Smitha, a South Indian actress noted for her erotic roles. However, director Milan Luthria clarified that the story is not officially or literally based on Smitha alone, but on many of her southern contemporaries such as Disco Shanti. It also resembles the personal lives of other women in popular culture, including Hollywood actress and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe.


Moner Manush (2010): directed by Goutam Ghosh is based on the life of baul singer Lalan Phakir and his liberal sect who lived a life of high order in an otherwise superstitious 19th century Indian society. Lalan inherited the best of the liberal and enlightened tradition of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam to develop a philosophy of life which is extremely secular and tolerant. 

Bandit Queen (1994): Based on the life of Phoolan Devi it was directed by Shekhar Kapur and starred Seema Biswas as the lead. Phoolan Devi was a bandit who later became a Member of Parliament. It is said that Shekhar Kapur had exploited Phoolan Devi by misrepresenting both her life and its meaning in the film. Even though Phoolan Devi had protested againt the release of the film, she later subsided once she was offered a huge sum by the producer.