When real becomes reel

Cinema is regarded by many as an escape from real life, as a device to transport you to another world. Films inspired by real people and real incidents have a charm of their own. The sentiment of ‘that could happen in my life’, captures the interest of cinema-goers like nothing else. Here are a few films that have successfully used this formula.

Dandupalya (Kannada)

The 2012 Kannada film revolves around the crimes of a real-life gang called Dandupalya. The movie stars Pooja Gandhi as gang leader Lakshmi. She and 10 team members loot, rape and murder young women who are alone at home. In reality, the gang which was named after their village located on the outskirts of Bengaluru, was accused of theft and murder of over 80 people. The gang has objected to the film and say it has tarnished their ‘image’. 

U-Turn (Kannada)

Director Pawan Kumar based his story on an actual flyover in the city. The flyover was the only one in the world to have a traffic signal on it. Only after 5 years did they change it to a divider.  And a makeshift divider is the centre of this 2018 Kannada film. The protagonist, played by Shraddha Srinath, is a reporter who investigates people who have moved the divider to make a makeshift U-turn.

Virus (Malayalam)

Based on the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala that created a lot of panic. This 2019 Malayalam film has woven together key stories from the outbreak. It looks at the events from the perspective of patients as well as from that of those trying to contain the disease. The film’s stellar cast and crew have received acclaim from critics and audience alike.

Visaranai (Tamil)

The 2016 film, which sparked a conversation on police brutality,  was inspired by a book named ‘Lock-Up’. Written by auto driver M Chandrakumar, the book is a look-back at his experience with police brutality as a young man in Andhra Pradesh. Vetrimaaran scripted and directed the Tamil film, which was India’s official entry to the Oscars that year. 

Aligarh (Hindi)

Starring Manoj Bajpayee in the lead role, the 2015 Hindi film tells the tale of Dr Ramchandra Siras, a gay Aligarh University professor who was dismissed on ‘moral’ grounds. The film explores the events that lead up to the suspension and his eventual reinstatement and suspicious death.

Naa Bangaaru Talli (Telugu)

Directed by Rajesh Touchriver, the film is inspired by a case handled by his wife and social worker Sunitha Krishnan. Sunitha runs the NGO Prajwala that rescues trafficked girls. This 2014 Telugu film is a gut-wrenching tale of human trafficking and a father-daughter relationship.

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