Here's how much these personalities got paid for their biopic rights

May 04, 2015, 13:08 IST | The Hitlist Team

With Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni quoting Rs 80 crore for the rights to his biopic, we take a look at the amount of money filmmakers paid some personalities for borrowing their life stories

There is an angle to Indian cricket skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's life that director Neeraj Pandey believes the world has been waiting for him to pitch.

Sushant Singh RajputSushant Singh Rajput will essay MS Dhoni's role in the Neeraj Pandey-directed biopic. Pic/Nimesh Dave

And given the kind of adulation that the charismatic cricketer has found in his 11-year career, the biopic titled 'MS Dhoni: The Untold Story' is arguably one of the most-awaited films.

MS Dhoni

The anticipation throws up another crucial aspect: How much does Dhoni stand to gain from the business of filmmaking? It has been reported that Dhoni's life until now has been acquired for R80 crore and the star cricketer will also get a share of the profits.

hitlist throws light on the royalty payment made to a few personalities for lending their lives to the silver screen...

Dr. Prakash Baba Amte – The Real Hero (2014)
Royalty: Did not Accept
Reel play: Nana Patekar
Director: Samruddhi Porey
Lowdown: Dr Prakash Baba Amte gave up worldly pleasures to look after the adivasis of Hemalkasha, living in a depraved condition as jungle folk. It was not just this director who wanted to bring Amte's story to the silver screen.

Sonali Kulkarni and Nana Patekar in a still from the film
Sonali Kulkarni and Nana Patekar in a still from the film

She claims Aamir Khan had sent one of his close aides with the required papers for the social worker to sign. While we now know who was able to convince Dr Amte, we asked the lawyer-turned-filmmaker about the legal process followed in acquiring the rights.

Dr Prakash Baba Amte
Dr Prakash Baba Amte

Porey reveals, "Since Dr Amte is still alive, I had to directly approach him with my script and a legal document that required his signature. Neither he nor his wife was willing to accept a single penny for the rights. As a kind gesture, however, we made donations to the ashram."

Mee Sindhutai Sapkal (2010)
Royalty: Rs 1 lakh
Reel play: Tejaswini Pandit
Lowdown: "Sindhutai Sapkal accepted R1 lakh as donation for her ashram in Hadapsar, Pune," asserts Ananth Mahadevan, who helmed this Marathi film. He believed that the story of Sindhutai Sapkal was waiting for one with a "visual mind" to take notice of it.

A still from Mee Sindhutai Sapkal
A still from Mee Sindhutai Sapkal

He took the risk of filming her life, while being adamant about not making a "mere documentary". His muse, who is often referred to as the Mother of Orphans, has lived a difficult life. On citing the disparity between the royalties charged by personalities, Mahadevan says, "What's wrong if Dhoni charges an exorbitant amount?

Sindhutai Sapkal
Sindhutai Sapkal

After all he is a star figure and producers will make money by selling movie tickets. While my film does not sell Sindhutai as a brand, I am happy that through this biopic I made a contribution to the personality that cannot be calculated, because she tells me the response from those willing to donate has been overwhelming."

Mary Kom (2014)
Royalty: Rs 25 lakh
Reel play: Priyanka Chopra
Director: Omung Kumar
Lowdown: According to sources, Manipuri boxing champion Mary Kom was handed a cheque of Rs 25 lakh for lending her life to the silver screen.

Priyanka Chopra in the film
Priyanka Chopra in the film

The director says, "I cannot discuss the amount of money, but the personality does not get a share in the profits. Yes, a  one-time fee is paid for their story.

Mary Kom
Mary Kom

At least for my film that was the case." At first, what many would assume is the not-so-tender proposition that the business of cinema tenders — considering that Rs 25 lakh is Rs 79.75 crore short of Dhoni's fee — is actually due to the audience's choice of idolising MS Dhoni.

Paan Singh Tomar (2012)
Royalty: Rs 15 lakh (approx)
Reel play: Irrfan
Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Lowdown: Back in 2012, just before release of Dhulia's experiments with the biopic genre, a controversy stirred up. The nephew of athlete-soldie-rebel Paan Singh Tomar had lodged an FIR against the director alleging that his family was not paid the promised royalty.

Irrfan in Paan Singh Tomar
Irrfan in Paan Singh Tomar

The director  claimed to be unaware of the FIR. He also said his was a small-budget film and that he could not afford to make a deal of the amount demanded. On bringing the director to divulge details regarding the final deal, he says, "Yes, the family has been paid, but I cannot recall the amount at the moment."

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)
Royalty: Rs 1
Reel play: Farhan Akhtar
Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Lowdown: hitlist had earlier reported about Milkha Singh accepting only Rs 1 for the translation of his lifestory on celluloid. The sportsman, who nourished a new generation of fans post the film, claimed, "They have made a good film, but I am still waiting for what I was promised." 

Farhan Akhtar in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Farhan Akhtar in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

The sportsman's chief confidant on this issue, Charanjit Singh Sapra reveals, "Milkha Singh called me in the first week of July 2014 and sounded very hurt and disturbed.

Milkha Singh
Milkha Singh

He felt cheated by Mehra; he told me that his trust was yet to receive 10 per cent of the film's profit." Despite repeated attempts, Singh remained unavailable for comment.

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