Compared to every other film industry across the globe, Bollywood films are often considered far from reality. Recently Shershah released on Amazon prime, Biopic of PVC Captain Vikram Batra did something unique and real.

We have a Hero beating the hell out of more than 10 to 15 goons and if his action sequences are not enough to impress, then he is also an excellent dancer, singer, charmer, and whatnot! The actress or the Heroine, on the other hand, is most often a glamorous, beautiful young girl who can sing, dance, and sometimes is the damsel in distress waiting to be rescued.

Well, that’s how a Bollywood film is made. There’s hardly anything realistic about most Bollywood films. Yet, there are few exceptions where filmmakers try to portray realistic characters focusing on a believable story rather than just an entertainer. Such a mindset has also inspired Bollywood filmmakers to try biographical films on popular personalities.

Best Bollywood Biopic Movies of All Time

A biopic is basically a film that features the life story of a real person or a particular incident involving the person. In Bollywood, a lot of biopic films have been produced, and most often they have gone unnoticed, thanks to lack of media coverage. However, since the new millennia, things have begun to change for Bollywood. The industry has begun acknowledging some lives and their achievements as well as take it as their responsibility to tell their life story on the big screen, of course with few exceptions.

Here is the list of best Bollywood biopic movies of all time:

Shershah (2021)

Shershah Captain vikram batra biopic India

Shershah is a biopic film based on the life of PVC Captain Vikram Batra, he lost his life during the Kargil war and was awarded the Param Veer Chakra by the Army. Shershah was the code name of Vikram Batra and Sidharth Malhotra lived the role of PVC awardee. The film shares the personal life of Vikram Batra, his love interest, family, and his journey towards the bravest soldier of the Army.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)

Bhag Milkha Bhag Visuals

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is a sports biopic film based on the life of our own Flying Sikh, the great Milkha Singh. Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is first of its kind sports biopic film in India. The film stars Farhan Akhtar in the titular role as Milkha Singh.

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016)


The second on our best biopic films list is another sports biographical drama. M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story is based on the life of Indian Cricketer and former Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Directed by Neeraj Pandey, the film shares some of the unknown and interesting facts about M.S. Dhoni and his life beyond his cricketing career. Sushant Singh Rajput plays M.S. Dhoni in the film alongside Disha Patani, Kiara Advani, Bhumika Chawla, and Anupam Kher in the important roles.

Also Read: Best Bollywood Movies on Cricket

Neerja (2016)

Neerja motivational film

Neerja is a Hindi biographical thriller film featuring an incident in Neerja Bhanot’s life where she valiantly saves 359 of the 379 passengers during the hijack attempt of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan. Directed by Ram Madhvani, the film is narrated from Neerja’s point of view and also highlights the trauma faced by her family during the whole incident. Sonam Kapoor plays the titular character of Neerja Bhanot, whereas Shabana Azmi plays her mother in the film.

Mary Kom (2014)

Mary Kom Priyanka Chopra boxing film

Here’s another sports biopic film making to our list of best biopic movies of all time. Mary Kom, as the title suggests, is based on the life of former Indian Olympic boxer Mary Kom. Directed by Omung Kumar, the film features Priyanka Chopra in the titular role of Mary Kom. The film depicts Mary Kom’s life and the struggles she faced while pursuing her passion to become a boxer and represent India at an international level.

The Dirty Picture (2011)

Best Bollywood Biopic movies the dirty pictures vidya

The Dirty Picture is not officially a biopic but it certainly resembles the life of South Indian actress Silk Smitha, popular for her erotic roles. Directed by Milan Luthria, the film actually highlights the life of Silk, played by Vidya Balan, and her journey to stardom as well as her eventual death. Alongside Vidya Balan, the film also stars Naseeruddin Shah, Emraan Hashmi, and Tushaar Kapoor.

Paan Singh Tomar (2012)

Irrfan Khan in Paan Singh Tomar

Paan Singh Tomar can also be listed under the sports biopic films on this best biopic films list. However, Paan Singh Tomar features a terrible ending compared to the other films as this movie features the life of athlete turned bandit Paan Singh Tomar. Directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, the film features Irrfan Khan in the titular role. The film depicts the story of a Gold medallist soldier from the Indian army at Indian National Games, who becomes a renowned bandit in the Chambal Valley.

Bandit Queen (1994)

Bandit Queen movie banned in India

Bandit Queen is another film based on a famous Indian bandit named Phoolan Devi. Directed by Shekhar Kapur, the film depicts the life and atrocities faced by Phoolan Devi where she was gang raped and abused by policemen and other men from the upper caste. The film is about her vow for revenge and her transition from Phoolan Devi to Bandit Queen. The film stars Seema Biswas in the titular character.

Dangal (2016)

dangal aamir khan

Dangal is a 2016 sports biopic film featuring the life of Phogat sisters. Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, the film tells the real life story of Phogat family and Mahavir Singh Phogat’s quest to train his daughters, Geeta and Babita, to win a Gold medal at the world stage. The film stars Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero (2004)

Bose the forgotton Hero Movie on Indian History

Till now, the list of best biopic films is highly dominated by sports biopic films and it’s time for a change. Here is Shyam Benegal’s 2004 war film Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero, which is, of course, a biographical film about Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The film features Sachin Khedekar in the titular character and depicts the life of Netaji in Nazi Germany (1941-1943) as well as Japanese-occupied Asia (1943-1945) which eventually lead to the formation of Azad Hind Fauj.

Also Read: Best Movies about Indian History

Sarabjit (2016)

sarabjit biopic movie

Directed by Omung Kumar, here’s yet another biographical film based on the life of an Indian prisoner facing a death sentence in Pakistan and his quest for justice. The film features Randeep Hooda as Sarabjit, whereas Aishwarya Rai plays his sister Dalbir Kaur. The film mainly focuses on the journey of Dalbir Kaur seeking justice for her brother and her 22 years quest to bring Sarabjit back to India.

Sardar (1993)

Sardar 1993 film mahatma gandhi

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, also known as the Iron Man of India, is an unsung hero of India’s freedom struggle. His legacy is often overshadowed by the greatness of Mahatma Gandhi and the charisma of Jawaharlal Nehru. When Ketan Mehta directed the 1993 film Sardar featuring Paresh Rawal in the titular character, the world came to know a lot about this great legendary freedom fighter and his efforts to build an independent India.

Shahid (2013)

Shahid Hindi movie Rajkumar Rao hansal mehta

Shahid is a 2013 biographical film based on the life of human rights activist and lawyer Shahid Azmi, who was eventually assassinated in Mumbai in 2010. Directed by Hansal Mehta, the film features Rajkumar Rao in the titular character. The real life Shahid Azmi also defended the 2004 film Black Friday while it was struggling for a release against the Censor Board and that act influenced Anurag Kashyap to make a film about his life.

Rang Rasiya (2008)

rang rasiya raja ravi varma

Well, a lot of films in the list of best biopic movies are either based on sports, freedom struggle, and others. Hence, for a change, here is the 2008 historical film Rang Rasiya which is based on the life of Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma. Directed by Ketan Mehta, the film features Randeep Hooda as Raja Ravi Varma, whereas Nandana Sen plays his love interest Sugandha.

Aligarh (2016)

aligarh manoj bajpai

Directed by Hansal Mehta, Aligarh is a biographical drama that attracted a lot of controversies last year. The film starring Manoj Bajpayee in the lead role as Prof. Ramchandra Siras is primarily about homosexuality and the prejudice it suffers on moral grounds. The film also features Rajkumar Rao in a pivotal role.

The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)

The Legends of Bhagat Singh Movie on history

The popularity of Bhagat Singh, one of India’s prominent freedom fighters, can be anticipated by the mere fact that there was 3 biographical film released in the same year featuring his life. Well, we chose the best one of the lot starring Ajay Devgn as Bhagat Singh. Directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, the film chronicles the life of the legendary freedom fighter who sacrificed his life for Indian Independence.

Manjhi: The Mountain Man (2015)

Manjhi the Mountain man inspiring movie

While most of the biopic films are based on legends, here’s a 2015 biographical film Manjhi: The Mountain Man which is about an ordinary villager who became a legend. Directed by Ketan Mehta, the film is based on the life of Dashrath Manjhi, popularly known as Mountain Man because he carved a path by cutting through a mountain with two simple tools: a hammer and a chisel. Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the titular character in the film and Radhika Apte plays his wife.

Gandhi, My Father (2007)

Gandhi my father movie on father son relationship

A lot of films have been made about Mahatma Gandhi and his Satyagrahas to free India. However, very less is known about his personal life. Gandhi, My Father is a 2007 biographical film based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi’s son Hiralal Gandhi. Directed by Feroz Abbas Khan, the film features Akshaye Khanna as Gandhi’s son and Darshan Jariwala plays Mahatma Gandhi.

Budhia Singh – Born to Run (2016)

budhia singh born to run biopic

Budhia Singh – Born to Run is another sports biographical film on our list of best biopic movies of all time. Directed by Soumendra Padhi, the film tells the story of the world’s youngest marathon runner, Budhia Singh. By the age of 5, he had already run 48 marathons. The film features Manoj Bajpayee as Budhia’s coach, whereas Mayur Patole plays the titular character.

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (2000)

babasaheb ambedkar

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was a revolutionary Indian leader who fought against social discrimination against the Dalits and also worked for the rights of women and labor. In the year 2000, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Government of Maharashtra decided to give him a film tribute and funded the project titled Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. Directed by Jabbar Patel, the film features Malayalam actor Mammootty in the titular character.

Main Aur Charles (2015)

Main aur Charles biopic of charles shobhraj

Charles Shobraj was a notorious serial killer India had ever seen and hence his life became a great plot for a film. Director Prawaal Raman grabbed the opportunity and made Main Aur Charles, a 2015 film inspired by true events of the life of Charles Shobraj from the perspective of Indian cop Amod Kanth, who handles his case. The film stars Randeep Hooda in the titular character, whereas Adil Hussain plays the cop

Guru (2007)

guru kant desai abhishek bachchan

Guru is touted as a film based on the life of India’s renowned business magnate and the founder of Reliance Industries Dhirubhai Ambani. Despite not being a biographical film, we listed Guru on the list of best biopic movies is because of its impact on the mass. For the people, Guru is a biographical film based on Dhirubhai Ambani’s life and struggle to build the trust and business called Reliance. The film is directed by Mani Ratnam and features the real-life couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as the lead pair in the film.

The Making of Mahatma (1996)

The Making of Mahatma by NFDC

Directed by Shyam Benegal, The Making of Mahatma is one of the many films based on Mahatma Gandhi. The film is an Indian-South African collaboration and portrays the early life of Mahatma Gandhi and his 21 years of struggle in South Africa fighting against racism.

Shaheed Udham Singh (2000)

Shaheed udham singh biopic

The massacre of Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar is even today considered as one of the brutal massacres in the world history. To avenge the lives of 1000s of innocent men and women, Shaheed Udham Singh spent his whole life to punish the British Lieutenant, Michael O’Dwyer, who ordered the massacre and eventually killed him. The 2000 film Shaheed Udham Singh is a biographical movie based on the life of this unforgettable revolutionary India has ever produced. The film features Raj Babbar in the titular character.

Poorna (2017)

poorna biopic movie of poorna

Directed by Rahul Bose, Poorna is a biographical adventure film about Malavath Poorna, the youngest girl ever to climb Mt. Everest. The film even stars Rahul Bose as Dr. R.S. Praveen Kumar, who recognizes the talent of this young girl and helps him get the right direction to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.

Gour Hari Dastaan (2015)

Gour Hari Dastaan The Freedom File

Another film based on an Indian freedom fighter is the 2015 film Gour Hari Dastan. Directed by Anant Mahadevan, the film is based on the life of an Odisha freedom fighter Gour Hari Das. The film stars Vinay Pathak as Gour Hari Das, whereas Konkana Sen Sharma plays Lakshmi Das.

Few Regional Biopic Films

Well, there are not many regional biographical films made in India. However, there were a few exceptions.

Here’s a list of best biopic movies from regional cinema:

Ramanujan (2014) – A Tamil Film

Ramanujan tamil movie biopic

There was a lot of criticism when Hollywood made a biographical film about Srinivasan Ramanujan and Bollywood didn’t. Well, if you consider the 2014 Tamil film Ramanujan, then India did acknowledge the works of this globally renowned mathematician. Directed by Gnana Rajasekaran, the film features Abhinay Vaddi in the titular character. The film is an Indo-British collaboration and was shot in Tamil and English simultaneously.

Harishchandrachi Factory (2009) – A Marathi Film

Harishchandrachi Factory marathi cinema

Everyone knows that the 1913 film Raja Harishchandra directed by Dadasaheb Phalke was the first Indian feature film and led to the birth of the world’s largest cinema industry comprising of so many different industries within. Harishchandrachi Factor, a 2009 Marathi film, depicts the story of the struggles faced by the legendary filmmaker and father of Indian cinema while making India’s first feature film.

Celluloid (2013) – A Malayalam Film

Celluloid Malayalam Movie Prithviraj Sukumaran Biopic of JC Daniel

Celluloid is a 2013 Malayalam biopic film based on the life of Father of Malayalam Cinema, J.C. Daniel. The film basically features the early life of J.C. Daniel and his journey to produce the first Malayalam film Vigathakumaran. The film also sheds some light on the story of Vigathakumaran’s heroine P.K. Rosie. Directed by Kamal, the film features Prithviraj in the lead roles as J.C. Daniel.

Ek Albela (2016) – A Marathi Film

Ek Albela marathi movie

There are few yesteryear actors who are forgotten but their legacy is still intact. Bhagwan Dada is one of those unknown names in Bollywood, who is known to be the original creator of the popular Amitabh Bachchan dance step. As a tribute to the veteran actor, filmmaker Shekhar Sartandel made the 2016 Marathi film Ek Albela featuring Mangesh Desai as Bhagwan Dada. The film also features Vidya Balan in a cameo appearance as Geeta Bali.

Moner Manush (2010) – A Bengali Film

Moner Manush bengali biopic

Moner Manush is a 2010 biographical musical drama featuring the life of Lalon, a spiritual leader, folk singer, and poet of Bengal in the 19th century. Directed by Goutam Ghose, the film is a joint venture between India and Bangladesh. The film stars Prosenjit in the lead role as Lalan Fakir, whereas Paoli Dam plays the female lead and the disciple of Lalan.

We are waiting for the Upcoming biopic film on Sam Manekshaw’s life Sam Bahadur.