Well, movies are a medium for entertainment today. However, in addition to that, it also displays the reality of life through fictional stories inspired by the characters or lives observed by filmmakers.
Most of the movies are freshly written, while there are many which are inspired by famous books or themes.
Being said that, you can also come across a few films every year based on real-life events. The only flaw with making such films based on reality is simply the fact that such films create controversies as the real-life events on which the film is based wouldn’t be any normal day-to-day issue but an event that may be linked to a huge scandal, mystery, terrorist attack, etc.
Hence, only a few filmmakers take their chances and try to present these real-life events on the silver screen for the audience to see a clear picture. Although movies are produced for entertainment, such reality-based films actually inspire us and make us ask the most important question, which is whether we are bothered or not. If yes, then can we change and help make this world a better place!
If we could make this world a better place or not, is a question that can only be answered with time. However, I would recommend everyone in India to take some time out and watch the following list of top Bollywood films based on real-life events.
Note : There is a whole list of Bollywood Biopic Movies which are also based on Real life, you can check that also.
Best Bollywood Movies about True Stories and Real Life Events
83 film starring Ranveer Singh, Hardy Sandhu, Jatin Sarna, and many other actors is based on the Indian cricket team world cup win of 1983, it was a truly inspiring real story which is beautifully crafted by Kabir Khan, director of the film.
They did not artistic liberty to make it more pleasant for the audience, the story of the 83 world cup win is already a great story and every fact and figure was correct in the film, even the match and injuries are the same as the real world cup journey. So you can say this is probably the best Bollywood film on cricket based on real life.
1993 Bombay bombings are certainly the blackest chapter in Indian history after the Independence. However, none of the filmmakers ever took the initiative to make a film on this event. Although, there were a lot of films made around the Underworld theme, but none were even close to the Bombay bombings.
It could be because the verdict was still pending or it may be the fear of the Underworld. Yet, in the year 2004, Anurag Kashyap and his team decided to make a film based on the book, The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts written by Hussain Zaidi. Still, the film was shelved and stopped from release for 3 years by Censor Board as the verdict of the serial bomb blasts was still pending in Supreme Court.
The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi was one of the gruesome events in India as the suicide bomb attack on the then Prime Minister was telecast all over India and most probably the world. Well, Madras Cafe is a film about the true events that led to the assassination plot.
Yes, Madras Cafe is a film directed by Shoojit Sircar that talks about the Indian intervention in the Sri Lankan civil war during the late 80’s and early 90’s. Starring John Abraham as an Indian Army officer Major Vikram Singh, the story of the film is narrated through his experiences and observations. As expected, Madras Cafe also faced a lot of criticism at the time of its release.
Aarushi murder case is the most talked about, controversial as well as mysterious murder case in the history of Indian Judicial system. Hence, a film on the same was inevitable.
Rahasya is one of the films based on the real Aarushi murder case. The film is directed by Manish Gupta and includes versatile actors such as Kay Kay Menon, Tisca Chopra, Ashish Vidyarthi, Mita Vashisht and Ashwini Kaslekar in different characters.
Although the names of the characters are different, you can link them with the real characters easily as the Aarushi murder case was one of the highly publicized cases in the Indian history. Although the film was based on this high-profile murder case, the story of the film is not entirely same as the whole case.
No one Killed Jessica
Before the Aarushi murder case, it was Jessica Lal murder case that was the talk of the town everywhere. Unlike the Aarushi murder case, which was an unsolved mystery even today, the Jessica Lal murder case was a plain chapter.
This 2011 biographical thriller film, No One Killed Jessica starring Vidya Balan as Sabrina Lal and Rani Mukerji as Meera Gaity, narrated the story of the whole case for the audience to give a clearer picture. Although the verdict was out and the culprit was found guilty, this film directed by Rajkumar Gupta forced us to question our judicial system.
Also Read: Movies Based on Murder Mysteries
Shootout at Lokhandwala
During the 90’s, Underworld mafia is quite active in India, especially in Mumbai, the headquarters of the Underworld mafia led by different gangsters. One such mafia gangster was Maya Dolas. He was shot dead by the Mumbai Police force led by Aftab Ahmed Khan during the famous 1991 Lokhandwala Complex shootout, a real-life gun battle between gangsters and Mumbai Police.
After more than 15 years or so, this shootout event inspires Apoorva Lakhia to make Shootout at Lokhandwala that narrated a story before the shootout that was centered highly upon Maya Dolas and his gang until the ultimate shootout. Shootout at Lokhandwala is one of the Best Films About Underworld and Mafia.
Yet another film based on Aarushi murder case is the 2015 drama film Talvar. Starring Irrfan Khan, Konkana Sen Sharma, Neeraj Kabi and many others in important roles, the film is directed by Meghna Gulzar. Unlike Rahasya, Talvar is purely based on the 2008 Double Murder Case, also known as Aarushi Murder Case.
The film tries to narrate the story from the perspective of Irrfan Khan’s character, Ashwin Kumar, which was based on real-life CBI Investigator Arun Kumar, IPS, the lead investigator of Aarushi Murder Case. Instead of the giving away the verdict, the film displays all the possible events and lets the audience decide for themselves.
Rakht Charitra Series
Rakht Charitra is a two-part film series directed by Ram Gopal Varma. The complete series is based on the life of Paritala Ravindra, portrayed by Vivek Oberoi in the film as Pratap Ravi.
The film tells us about the political gundaraj that still prevails in some parts of Andhra Pradesh. The film stars many versatile actors alongside Vivek Oberoi. Some of the notable actors in the film are Tamil Superstar Suriya, Shatrughan Sinha, Sudeep, Kota Srinivas Rao, Zarina Wahab, Radhika Apte and many others.
The Attack of 26/11
Now, if the 93’ Bombay serial bomb blast is the darkest chapter in Indian history post independence, then the 2008 Mumbai attacks was surely the most ruthless terrorist attacks in India. Nobody can forget the black day in the life of Mumbaikars on that unfortunate day when some morons entered into the city and started open fire killing many innocent lives.
The whole incident was recreated in the form of cinema as an Indian docudrama thriller film, The Attack of 26/11 directed by Ram Gopal Varma. Although the film got appreciative comments from critics all over the globe, the film failed at the box office, mainly due to the dark subject.
Border is an Indian war film based on the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Directed by J.P. Dutta, the film is said to be one of those films that triggered the patriotic side of every Indian. With a multi-star cast of Sunny Deol, Sunil Shetty, Jackie Shroff, Akshay Khanna, Pooja Bhatt, Tabu, Rakhee and many others, the film was a great tribute to the war heroes of 1971 Indo-Pakistani war. Although a full-on action film, the film also had some great songs penned by the great Javed Akhtar and composed by Anu Malik. Border is one of the Best films on Indian Army and their Life at the Border.
Bawandar is a 2000 Indian biographical film based on the life of a gang rape victim Bhanwari Devi from Bhateri, Rajasthan. Directed by Jag Mundhra, the film stars Nandita Das in the lead role of Sanwari, the character based on Bhanwari Devi.
The film opens up about the political and social influence in our Judiciary system and the lack of justice to the rape victims, especially in the remote villages, where conservative village elders are still holding the charge for judgments, despite the fact that the Gram Panchayats are not allowed to interfere in Judicial matters. The film tries to draw our attention to the unfortunate fact that how, despite being an open and shut case, the manipulation and influence of politicians and the society kept Bhanwari Devi away from the rightful justice that she deserved.
Gangs of Wasseypur Series
One of the best creations of Anurag Kashyap, the Indian Christopher Nola, the Gangs of Wasseypur series has gained huge popularity among the real cinema fanatics. The film series, its characters, and the dialogues have gained cult status not just in India but all over the globe.
The complete film series is based around the real-life coal mafia of Dhanbad and features the rivalry mainly between the three crime families within Dhanbad. Starring versatile actors like Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi, Richa Chaddha, Reema Sen, Piyush Mishra, Tigmanshu Dhulla, and Vipin Sharma as well as young talents such as Aditya Kumar and Vineet Kumar Singh in pivotal roles, the film begins the trend of crime film genre in Bollywood film industry. The film series consists of two films as of now with the third film in the making.
Based on the real life incident of Chennai, Traffic is a Hindi thriller film directed by Rajesh Pillai. The film tells us the story of a single day, where the main protagonist of the film Godbole, a Mumbai Police Constable played by Manoj Bajpai takes up the task of transporting a live heart by road amidst the peak Mumbai traffic at 120 kph, so that the heart can be successfully transplanted into a dying young girl, who also happens to be the daughter of a film star.
It’s an act of redemption for Godbole, whereas it’s the matter of life and death for the girl and her parents. Whether he succeeds or not forms the rest of the story.
The Stoneman Murders
The Stoneman Murders is a 2009 Hindi suspense thriller film directed by Manish Gupta. The film is based on the real life Stoneman killings that frightened the people of Bombay in the 1980s.
The film stars Kay Kay Menon and Arbaaz Khan in the lead roles and revolves around the investigation of the whole case. However, in reality, the mystery of Stoneman Murders is unsolved even today.
Parzania is a 2007 Hindi drama film starring Naseeruddin Shah and Sarika in the lead roles alongside American actor Corin Nemec in supporting role. The film is based on the true story of a ten-year-old Parsi boy, Azhar Mody, who went missing after the 28th February 2002 after the Gulbarg Society Massacre, during the 2002 Gujarat Riots.
In the film, the name of the character of Azhar Mody is changed to Parzaan Pithawala, whereas Naseeruddin Shah and Sarika play the parents of the missing child.
Ankur Arora Murder Case
Ankur Arora Murder Case is a film based on the real-life incident where a boy dies on the operation table because of medical negligence.
The film talks about the medical negligence of a renowned surgeon played by Kay Kay Menon and how that small mistake leads to the death of Ankur Arora on the operating table. The rest of the film is about the fight between the misuse of power and morals of a junior doctor played by Arjun Mathur, who fights for the justice of the innocent kid. The film also stars Tisca Chopra, Paoli Dam, and Vishakha Singh in other important roles.
Well, most of the real-life-based films discussed above garnered huge accolades from critics but either failed or performed averagely at the Box Office. Also, most of the movies above hardly had a superstar in the film. But, all that changes with the release of Airlift which starred Akshay Kumar in the lead role as Ranjit Katyal.
Ranjit Katyal is a character based on Mathunny Mathews, who played a key role in the evacuation of 1,70,000 Indians from Kuwait during the Invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Directed by Raja Krishna Menon, the film also stars the highly talented Nimrat Kaur.
Satya is the first film of the Ram Gopal Varma’s Gangster trilogy, which is highly based on the real life D-Company, an Indian mafia organization run by Dawood Ibrahim. Directed by Ram Gopal Varma, the film stars J.D. Chakravarthy in the titular role alongside the interesting characters of Bhiku Matre, played by Manoj Bajpayee, and Kallu Mama played by Saurabh Shukla. In addition to this, the film cast also includes the likes of Paresh Rawal, Urmila Matondkar, Aditya Srivastava, Govind Namdeo, Shefali Shetty, Makrand Deshpande and many others. The film is even today known for its famous Kallu Mama Song.
Aandhi is a 1975 Hindi political drama film based on the life of the then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her relationship with her estranged husband. However, it was not formally accepted by the filmmakers and they simply agreed that only the look of Suchitra Sen’s character Aarti Devi in the film was inspired by Indira Gandhi. In those days, it was foolish to take aims at Indira Gandhi and the filmmakers made the right move to nullify the claims about the similarity of Aandhi with her life. Yet, the film was banned and released only once Indira Gandhi was defeated in the 1977 national elections. The film also starred Sanjeev Kumar as the husband of Aarti Devi.
Shootout At Wadala
Shootout At Wadala is the second film in the Shootout film series and also a prequel to its first film Shootout At Lokhandwala. The film is based on the encounter, where the Mumbai Police shot Manya Surve, a gangster from Mumbai Underworld. Directed by Sanjay Gupta, the film features an ensemble cast of Anil Kapoor, John Abraham, Kangana Ranaut, Manoj Bajpayee, Sonu Sood, Tusshar Kapoor, Ronit Roy, and many others.
Almost every movie on our list is based on a single event or life. However, Firaaq is an exception. The film is a political thriller that showcases the life of the people after the 2002 violence in Gujarat, India. Set one month after the riots, the film shares thousands of different true stories displaying the aftermath and effect on the lives of everyday people. Directed by Nandita Das, the film features an ensemble star cast of Naseeruddin Shah, Deepti Naval, Paresh Rawal, Sanjay Suri, Raghubir Yadav, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shahana Goswami, Tisca Chopra, and Amruta Subhash.
Special 26 is one of its kind heist thriller film starring Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Kajal Aggarwal, Jimmy Shergill, Divya Dutta, and Manoj Bajpayee in pivotal roles. The reason why this film stands out from the other heist films is the fact that it is based on the real life 1987 Opera House heist in Mumbai, where a group of men posing as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers raided a Jeweller in Mumbai and took away around 30 to 35 lakhs of jewelry and cash within 45 minutes. The film is a must-watch for the brilliant acting and screenplay that keeps you intrigued throughout the film.
Yet again, we have saved the best for the last. Well, not everyone would believe that Neerja is the best film of the lot but I consider it as the best because of the legendary lady, the film is based on. Yes, Neerja is a film tribute to the heroics of Neerja Bhanot, India’s youngest braveheart. The film tells us the story about how Neerja, played by Sonam Kapoor, risked her life and saved hundreds of passengers during a hijack attempt on Pan Am Flight 73 flying from Mumbai to the United States on September 5, 1986. She was shot multiple times while trying to shield three American children from a hail of bullets of the hijackers.
Now, Share your favorite Hindi Movies Based on True Stories and Real Life of People. This list of Bollywood Movies on Real life events is created by Filmy Keeday Team. You can add more Movies in the comment section.