The death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput is still under investigation, with new developments cropping up every day. Meanwhile, several filmmakers have announced projects based on the life and death of the late actor.
The situation reminds us of the fact that Bollywood is always quick to capture a slice of reality for its fiction screen.
Looking at the real life deaths and/or crime for screenplays is not a new trend, with films like Talvar, Black Friday, No One Killed Jessica, and Main Aur Charles being but a few cases in point. But the race to get the titles registered for an incident that is still under investigation is unprecedented.
This year, the death of Bollywood star Sushant Singh Rajput and its twists and turns has not only gripped the attention of the people, but filmmakers as well. Another high profile incident that the makers are looking with keen interest is the life of slain gangster Vikas Dubey.
According to officials at Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA), several titles have been registered to set up productions capturing these two incidents.
Some of the titles around Sushant's death that IMPPA received for approval are: Sushant Singh Rajput Biography, Sushant, Rajput: The Truth Wins, and The Unsolved Mystery. This is besides three films that were already announced a while back, allegedly bearing a certain likeness with Sushant's life. These are Nyay: The Justice, Shashank, and Suicide Or Murder.
The Vikas Dubey incident also has many aspiring contenders among filmmakers. Titles received for approval at IMPPA include Kanpur Ka Vikas Duvet, Mara Gaya Vikas Dubey, Mai Hoon Vikas Dubey Kanpurwala, Most Wanted Vikas Dubey, Vikas Dubey, and Bahubali Vikas Dubey.
"Real life stories are topical, with everyone having a high level of interest in these incidents. So, people try to come up with projects based on real life cases and incidents. People just try to capitalise on that, and with lack of new stories, they look at real life stories," trade analyst Rajesh Thadani reasons, while speaking to IANS.
In the pipeline is also a web series titled Prakash Dubey Kanpur Wala, which will reportedly be based on Vikas Dubey. Renowned filmmaker Hansal Mehta has also shared that he will be directing a web series on the gangster's life.
Among the 'Sushant films' already announced, Shashank is co-produced by Karni Sena member Surjeet Singh Rathore.
"Sushant's life and works are invariably imbued with a sense of remarkable hardwork and discipline, which I believe will inspire many to work towards their dreams without the doubt and fear of failure," said director Nikhil Anand, who is working on Sushant's biopic.
Asked how it is shaping up, he said: "The murder mystery of our beloved Sushant is taking a new turn everyday because of the continuous fight of the fans. My dream project about making his biopic is solely about the celebration of his life and achievements."
The script of Nyaay: The Justice is also changing with the twists in the case.
"The script might change a bit after Rhea's Chakraborty arrest. Initially, they were not planning to show the drug angle but now they are thinking to put in a little, maybe three or four per cent. We plan to start the shoot from September 16. We are shooting out of Mumbai, though some parts will be shot in Mumbai as well. They are planning to release the film this year, so we have to rush the shoot," said Zuber K. Khan, who plays the central role in Nyaay: The Justice.
In the list of projects based on Sushant's life, the one thing that gets highlighted is the absence of a Bollywood biggie, associated with it or backing it. All of these productions are by fringe filmmakers.
Explaining this, Thadani said: "The case is very controversial, and it is against the industry, what with the film industry getting a lot of flak in the case. I think that is why they are staying away from it, and others are coming forward."