When one true incident inspired multiple Bollywoood films

Feb 12, 2015, 14:00 IST | Asira Tarannum

With the Aarushi Talwar murder case inspiring multiple filmmakers, we take a look at certain true incidents that Bollywood just can't have enough of

Crime and mystery have always intrigued Bollywood — especially when it relates to high-profile cases. There have been times when filmmakers did not mind taking up a real-life incident as inspiration even though they were earlier attempted on celluloid. For instance, the 2008 Noida double murder of teenager Aarushi Talwar and her family's domestic help, Hemraj, has inspired multiple films of late.

Irrfan will be seen as the investigating officer in Meghna Gulzar’s Talvar, which is based on the Aarushi murder case. Tabu will make  a special appearance as his wife
Irrfan will be seen as the investigating officer in Meghna Gulzar's 'Talvar', which is based on the Aarushi Talwar murder case. Tabu will make a special appearance as his wife

Manish Gupta's 'Rahasya' incorporated the 14-year-old's murder as the film's basic premise while Meghna Gulzar has come up with 'Talvar', earlier titled 'Nyodda', on the same topic. hitlist takes a look at other true-life incidents which were taken up by two or more filmmakers...

Dawood Ibrahim
Underworld is undoubtedly one of the favourite themes of Hindi films. The fascination for dreaded don Dawood Ibrahim has been evident in the many gangster movies that Bollywood has been consistently churning out. Anurag Kashyap's 'Black Friday' (2004) was the first film in which Vijay Maurya's character was called Dawood Ibrahim.

Suniel Shetty and Akshaye Khanna in Border, which was based on the 1971 Indo-Pak War
Suniel Shetty and Akshaye Khanna in Border, which was based on the 1971 Indo-Pak War

Then came Sanjay Gupta who showed his inclination towards gangster films with 'Shootout at Lokhandwala' (2007) and 'Shootout at Wadala' (2013). The filmmaker initially used real names of Dawood and his elder brother Sabir played by Sonu Sood and Manoj Bajpayee, respectively, in the second Shootout film. But their names were eventually changed to Dilawar and Zubair. No prizes for guessing why it was done so.

John Abraham and Sunny Leone in a still from Shootout At Wadala, in which director Sanjay Gupta had named Sonu Sood’s character as Dawood, only to change it to Dilawar later
John Abraham and Sunny Leone in a still from 'Shootout At Wadala', in which director Sanjay Gupta had named Sonu Sood's character as Dawood, only to change it to Dilawar later

In Milan Luthria's 2010 film 'Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai', Emraan Hashmi's character was modelled on Dawood. Nikhil Advani's 'D-Day' (2013) had Rishi Kapoor playing a don — understandably the one in Dubai. Even Ram Gopal Varma's 'Company' (2002) and 'D' (2005) were said to have been inspired by Dawood's life.

26/11 Mumbai terror attacks
Jahnu Barua helmed the National Award-winning film 'Baandhon: Waves of Silence', which released in 2012. It was the tale of an elderly couple who frantically look for their grandson in the aftermath of the worst terror attack that Mumbai had ever seen.

Two years ago, RGV also attempted ato chronicle the incident in 'The Attacks of 26/11'. So did Mahesh Bhatt in 'Kuch Log' featuring Anupam Kher.

Nicholas Saada has made a French film titled 'Taj Mahal' on this particular attack for the international audience.

Nanavati murder case
The 1963 thriller 'Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke', directed by R K Nayyar, was based on the famous K M Nanavati trial. Nanavati was a naval commander who was tried for the murder of his wife's paramour in 1959. The film starred Sunil Dutt, Leela Naidu, Rehman, Ashok Kumar and Motilal.

Then John Abraham was supposed to portray Nanavati in a film that could not materialise due to lack of funds. The script was being written by Vipul K Rawal while John wanted to co-produce it.

Soni Razdan is reportedly making a film on the same subject with Pooja Bhatt and Dino Morea co-producing it. We had also heard about Anurag Kashyap planning a film on the Nanavati case.

1971 Indo-Pak War
This historical war has often been translated into cinema. Arguably, the most famous of them is JP Dutta's 'Border' (1997) which had a star-studded cast.

Going down memory lane, there was 'Hindustan Ki Kasam' in 1973, based on Operation Cactus Lilly that was undertaken during the war. Just about seven years ago, Amrit Sagar made a film titled 1971 which was based on six Indian prisoners of war. Manoj Bajpayee, Ravi Kissen, Piyush Mishra and Deepak Dobriyal were part of the film.

Director's pick
Filmmakers tell us about the incidents that could be translated into films…
Vikas Bahl
Vikas Bahl
"The Indo-Pak Kargil War is the most encouraging story. It is not just a war film but a lesson for the world on how sheer determination and strategy can help you tide over any hindrance."

Anees Bazmi
Anees Bazmi
"I make larger-than-life films so it doesn't allow me to take up real life subjects. I haven't come across any incident as of now which I think should be made into a film. But if something in future interests me, I will definitely take it up."

Vikram Bhatt
Vikram Bhatt
"I would want to make a film on the AIB Roast. As a filmmaker, all my senses say it has got the ingredients of a potboiler — stars, violence, sex, vulgarity, opposition, hypocrisy, double standards and villains. It's a superb plot. It reminds me of 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron'. I will call the film 'A Joke Too Far'."

Rensil D'Silva
Rensil D’Silva
"Everyday incidents influence us in coming up with ideas to make films. And then there are issues like corruption and terrorism. But, if I have to choose one case, Sunanda Pushkar's  murder is definitely an interesting incident that I would like a film to be made on."

Hollywood films inspired by murder cases

>> Jack The Ripper is a character imbibed so comprehensively by differently forms of art that he is often mistaken to be fictional. Jack was a notorious serial killer who terrorised residents of the East London district of Whitechapel. He was a hit with storytellers, the ones who divulged his mysterious ways in literature as well as films like Hands of the 'Ripper' (1971), 'Time After Time' (1979), 'From Hell' (2001).

From Hell
'From Hell'

>> The Ed Gein murder was the best excuse that American parents had for reinstating their domestic monopoly when their children showed signs of rebellion — although Gein was imprisoned for life for killing two women. He was, however, given confinement in a mental health facility before he could be tried. He inspired Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho' (1960), 'Deranged' (1974) and 'In The Light of The Moon' (2000).

Psycho (1960)
'Psycho' (1960)

>> Peter Kurten aka The Vampire of Düsseldorf committed murders and sexually assaulted his victims, too. If you thought 'Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows' was the fattest book you have weight-lifted, consider this man's criminal records — it's a constitution on its own. He inspired Fritz Lang's 'M' (1931) and Robert Hossein's 'The Secret Killer' (1965).

Fritz Lang’s M (1931)
Fritz Lang’s M (1931)

>> Elizabeth Short, dubbed as the 'Black Dahlia' as far as popular culture is concerned, was gruesomely murdered in the oldest homicide case in LA County. Since her murder is a mystery and her murderer not found, her case has been solved only by the storytellers who were inspired by her life that was masked in obscurity. Her story has been told in films 'True Confession' (1981) and 'The Black Dahlia' (2006).

True Confession (1981)
'True Confession' (1981)

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