Cinema halls will soon be taken over by biopics on women achievers, starting with Kangana Ranaut's Manikarnika - The Queen of Jhansi based on the warrior queen. A number of other biopics are in the making this year, including Chhapaak, based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi, and the Shraddha Kapoor starrer Saina Nehwal biopic.
Eminent film and trade business analyst Girish Johar says that Manikarnika has got a "good buzz". "A popular face does help reach a wider audience because they have their own fans and fan clubs. They are well established and their craft is already recognised. Everyone knows that Kangana does different kinds of films," Girish told IANS.
Director Indrajit Lankesh is coming out with a biopic on southern film industry's adult film star Shakeela. Talking about biopics made on influential women, he said, "Finally, the film industry is opening up to women because maybe in the 1970s or 1980s, they thought that women were only for songs and dancing around the trees; but biopics getting made on women show that there are a lot of female achievers who can stand on their own and that's great. I always thought that when Shakeela was dominating in the male-dominated industry in mid 1990s, it was very difficult; but today, the scenario is slowly changing. I can't say that it's completely changed, but I am proud and happy that there are a lot of biopics being made on women."
Taking about his film, he shared, "It is the story of an actress who has seen a life from rags to riches to rags. Her life itself is a very good learning path for any woman." His film will star actress Richa Chadha as Shakeela.
But Richa herself doesn't see biopics on women as an unusual trend. "Reality is stranger than fiction. As long as there are interesting stories, these films will be made, because women won't stop achieving now," she said. For Richa, it was the story of Shakeela's life, "with all the trials and tribulations", that she found very dramatic. "When I first heard it, I wondered how it hadn't been adapted into a screenplay already. I am happy I got to act in this movie because I really grew a lot with it," she said.
Actress Deepika Padukone is also set to take the story of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal from real to reel. Deepika had said, "It's a very important story and it's a true incident, so hopefully good things will come out of it."
Actress Shraddha Kapoor will be showing off her sporty side by essaying the role of ace badminton player Saina Nehwal.
Even down south, a number of biopics on women achievers are in the offing. While last year's Mahanati, a film about the rise of female south Indian superstar Savitri, won the hearts of many, people can't stop praising popular south Indian actress Nithya Menen for her look in the new poster of the film The Iron Lady, based on the late politician Jayalalithaa.
"The film on Jayalalithaa is very heavy. I was very impressed when the film's director Priyadarshini came with the film to me. She was so focused. I told her that if we are doing a biopic, we should ensure complete justice to the character. She was going in the right direction and was extremely confident. I am really looking forward to doing that film. That will be interesting to explore as an artist," Nithya had said.
It's not just established actresses who are pumped up about playing real life characters. One-film-old actress Janhvi Kapoor has reportedly taken up a biopic on Indian Air Force combat pilot Gunjan Saxena. There were also reports that actress Jacqueline Fernandez will play ace Indian cyclist Deborah Herold in a film.