20 Alltime reality based Bollywood movies on True Stories

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Paan Singh Tomar


Here I am writing about a list of Top 20 reality based Bollywood movies till today which are very popular, evergreen among the audience & based on true story, real incident and inspired from someone or somewhere. Many films have won awards at various International film festivals.

Real life-based incidents are one of the very popular genres among Bollywood filmmakers. In the first few decades after India becomes an independent nation, most of the Hindi films that were made based on fiction, love stories and family dramas. However, most of the films like Deewar (1975) and Kala Pathar (1975), were actually the mirror of our society but overall very few films were made on true events.

In the later part of 1990’s, filmmaker J.P. Dutta officially started this journey, when he made multistarrer film Border (1997), which is based on the battle of Longewala in 1971 Indo-Pak war. Border became blockbuster at the box office and inspired every Indian to serve the country. Later in the year 2000, actor-producer Kamal Hasan came up with Hey Ram, which was based on the plot surrounding the murder of Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse. The film was not got huge success, but it inspired filmmakers to make reality based Bollywood movies on true events. Post 2000, there were many films were made on real life incidents and also got appreciated by the people.

20 Alltime reality based Bollywood movies list

1- Border (1997)


Directed by J.P. Dutta, Border is the milestone film of Hindi cinema and always been on the list of the most popular Hindi films. Based on the true event of the battle of Longewala in Indo-Pak war 1971, 120 Indian troops led by Major Kuldip Singh (Sunny Deol) hold on more than 2000 Pakistani invaders fully equipped with weapon and tanks throughout the night before Indian Air Force came in the morning and destroyed the Pakistani Tanks. The film also stars Sunil Shetty, Jackie Shroff, Akshaye Khanna and Pooja Bhatt in important roles.

2- Hey Ram (2000)

Hey Ram

Hey Ram is an Indian period crime drama written, produced and directed by Kamal Hasan. The film was based on the plot surrounded the murder of Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi. Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee and Hema Malini also played pivotal roles in the film. Despite its semi-fictional plot, the film got lots of controversies when it was released due to its weird plot. It was also selected for the Indian entry into the Oscars but was not nominated.

3- Black Friday (2007)

Black Friday

Directed by Anurag Kashyap, Black Friday is one of the best true, reality-based Bollywood movies ever made. Based on the dreadful 1993 Mumbai serial blasts in which more than 250 people killed, the film shows you how Underworld Don Dawood Ibrahim along with the help of Tiger Memon, stormed the financial capital of India with back to back blasts in various important places. Initially, the film was banned by the Supreme Court due to its controversial plot, but finally, after 3 years of delay, the film was released and appreciated by the audience. It won various International Awards at Film Festivals and reckon as the finest real life based film.

4- Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007)

Shootout at Lokhandwala

This Indian crime-thriller directed by Apoorva Lakhiya is based on the life of dreadful gangster Maya Dolas, who was killed by Mumbai Police in an encounter led by A.A. Khan, head of ATS at Lokhandwala Complex on November 1991. Vivek Oberoi played the role of the main antagonist in the film and it also stars Sanjay Dutt, Sunil Shetty, Arbaaz Khan and Amitabh Bachchan in pivotal roles. It was a smash hit at the box office and always remembered as one of the finest films on real-life incidents

5- Guru (2007)


Guru is an Indian film based on the life of Dhirubhai Ambani, a top-notch businessman and the owner of Reliance Industries, who fulfill his dream to become a successful person from zero. Abhishek Bachchan played the main lead of Guru as Dhirubhai and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was his leading lady in the film. Directed by Mani Ratnam, Guru shows the journey of the son of a headmaster of a school how to chase the big dreams. The film was a big hit plus critically acclaimed by the people as well as the critics.

6- Chak De India (2007)

Chak De India

Directed by Shimit Amin and starring Shah Rukh Khan in the main lead, Chak De India was inspired by the real-life story of former Indian Hockey player Mir Ranjan Negi who was criticized by the people due to his poor performance in a match against the arch-rivals Pakistan and accused of sedition. Later in the years, Mir Ranjan become coach of Indian National women Hockey team and under his supervision, Women team won the world championship of Hockey and he returned back his lost pride. Shah Rukh as coach Kabir Khan gave his best and the film became the super hit of the year. Its title track Chak De India became popular and one of the inspiring and patriotic songs ever.

7- Firaaq (2009)


Firaaq was the directorial debut of actress Nandita Das. It was a political thriller based on 2002 violence in Gujarat and the effects on the society and the life of regular people after these brutal riots. The film featured the ensemble star cast including Naseeruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Deepti Naval, Tisca Chopra and Sanjay Suri. Firaaq as expected went on to receive National and International recognition at several International Film Festival in Singapore and Pakistan. The movie also received two National Film Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Editing.

8- Rakta Charitra (2010)

Rakta Charitra

Rakta Charitra is a two part bilingual film in Hindi and Telugu directed by Ram Gopal Verma. Featuring the main leads of Vivek Oberoi and Shatrughan Sinha, Rakta Charitra was based on the life of Paritala Ravindra. The film was an instant hit at the box office despite the average reviews by the critics.

9- Once Upon A Time in Mumbai (2010)

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai

Directed by Milan Luthria, the film was loosely based on the life of Underworld don Haji Mastan and the emergence of another don Dawood Ibrahim. Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashmi played the role of Mastan and Ibrahim respectively. The film shows you how underworld kept Mumbai under their control in 70’s and crime was at its peak during this period. The film went on to become a big hit the box office and appreciated by the audience.

10- No One Killed Jessica (2011)

No One Killed Jessica

No One Killed Jessica was a biographical film based on Jessica Lal murder case & one of my best film in reality-based Bollywood movies list. The film is narrated by Sabrina Lal, sister of Jessica Lal. Jessica Lal, a Delhi based model was working as a celebrity barmaid at a high profile party on 30 April 1999. During the peak hours at late night, Manu Sharma, son of powerful congress M.P. Venod Sharma killed Jessica with a gunshot. This case got media attention and after many years of trails, the accused got the capital punishment in 2006. Directed by Raj Kumar Gupta, the film starred Rani Mukherjee as a news reporter and Vidya Balan played the character of Sabrina Lal. The film got critical acclamation plus four nominations at the 57th Filmfare Awards. Rani went onto win the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress for her stellar performance.

11- Not a Love Story (2011)

Not a Love Story

Directed by Ram Gopal Verma, Not a Love Story was a film inspired by the true event of the brutal murder of Neeraj Grover in 2008. The film stars Deepak Dobriyal and Mahie Gill in the main leads. The interesting thing was that the shooting of the film was finished in just 20 days that was never happened in the past. It got a mixed response from the audience.

12- Paan Singh Tomar (2012)

Paan Singh Tomar

Paan Singh Tomar was a biopic made on the life of an Indian athlete turned bandit Paan Singh Tomar. He was a soldier in the Indian Army and won several gold medals in National and International 3000 to 5000 meters race. He was considered as the champion in his form, but later on, due to some ancestral family dispute, he was forced to leave Army and came back to his native village as his relatives illegally acquired his land. He became Baaghi and decided to take revenge. In the end, he was killed in a police encounter. Irrfan Khan played the main lead of Paan Singh Tomar and the film was a smash hit at the box office. The film won Best Film and Best Actor Award in National Film Awards.

13- The Attacks of 26/11 (2013)

The Attacks of 26/11

Directed by Ram Gopal Verma, The Attacks of 26/11 was an Indian docudrama thriller based on 2008 Mumbai attacks. Nana Patekar was played the role of Mumbai’s joint commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria and Sanjeev Jaiswal was seen as Ajmal Aamir Kasab. The film showed the brutal killings of the innocent people by 10 Pakistani based terrorists who were ultimately killed by the joint operation of Army and NSG in marathon time period of more than 60 hours. More than 160 people were killed in this attacks that stormed the whole world. Although, the film was not gained well at the box office, but is among the list of reality based films.

14- Special 26 (2013)

Special 26

This Neeraj Pandey directorial was inspired by the real-life event way back in 1986 when a group of people, who were actually robbers, went onto become fake CBI officers and raid at various shops and banks for robbery. Especially the income tax raid to rob Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri in Mumbai. Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher and Manoj Bajpai  played the vital roles in the film which went onto become a profitable affair for the makers. It was regarded as one of the best films of 2013.

15- Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

This biographical film based on the life of Indian athlete Milkha Singh, who was a National Champion runner and Olympian was one of the epic real life based film of Indian Cinema. Directed by Rakesh Omprakash Mehra, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag shows how a child caused by the chaos of the mass killing in the riots during the time of partition, went onto become the Olympian and was nearly missed to become the first individual athlete of the country to win a gold medal in Olympics. Farhan Akhtar played the main lead of Milkha in the film and got standing ovations by the audience. The film went onto become superhit at the box office and received so many accolades globally.

16- Shootout at Wadala (2013)

Shootout at Wadala

Shootout at Wadala is the second installment of this crime-thriller Shootout series directed by Sanjay Gupta. It was based on the life of Mumbai’s gangster Manya Surve, who was shot dead in a police encounter in January 1982. John Abraham played the main lead in the film along with Anil Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut, Manoj Bajpai, Sonu Sood and Tusshar Kapoor. The film received mixed reviews from the critics and performed average at the box office.

17- Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara (2013)

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara

This was another sequel to this franchise based on the life of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. The film featured Akshay Kumar, Imran Khan and Sonakshi Sinha in the main leads. It exactly began where its prequel ends and tells that how Dawood Ibrahim extend his empire of smuggling across the globe and become the most dreadful person of the country. Directed by Milan Luthria, the film even with the good start, not received similar appreciation as the previous one.

18- Madras Cafe (2013)

Madras Cafe

On the list of reality-based Bollywood movies, Shoojit Sircar directorial Madras Cafe is on 18th position. The movie was set in the late 1980’s and 90’s during the time of Indian Intervention in the Sri Lankan civil war followed by the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. John Abraham, who has also produced the film,  played a pivotal role in the film along with Nargis Fakhri. This critically acclaimed film went onto win the National Film Award for Best Audiography.

19- Marry Kom (2014)

Marry Kom

Marry Kom, A reality-based Bollywood film, Directed by debutant Omung Kumar, Marry Kom was a biographical film based on the life of Indian woman boxer Marry Kom. The film which starred Priyanka Chopra in the main lead shows the journey of Manipur based Marry who went onto won World Boxing Championship record five times. She also won the Bronze medal in 2012 summer Olympics that brought her into the limelight. Marry Kom was received positive reviews and the audience appreciated the wonderful efforts of the whole team. At the box office too, the film was performed really well with commendable numbers. At the 62nd National Film Awards, Marry Kom won the Best Popular Film Providing the Wholesome Entertainment.

20- Talwar (2015)


Talwar was the film based on the life of popular Aarushi Talwar 2008 double murder case of Noida in which a teen age girl Aarushi was murdered long with her home servant. This case stormed the whole nation after CBI failed to solve the mystery of the murderer for 5 years and at the end, Aarushi’s parents were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Written by Vishal Bharadwaj, this Megna Gulzar directorial star Irrfan Khan and Konkana Sen Sharma in the main leads. Talwar was well acclaimed by the critics as well as the audience. The film also won Best Adapted Screenplay at National Film Awards.

These are the list of the true incident and reality-based Bollywood movies. Please feel free to comment and share the post.

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By Devesh
I am a young and passionate writer keen to break the latest stories on gossips running in the Bollywood, Box office collections and developments behind the silver screen in the digital media. I have experience of working with various newspapers & magazines across India for the coverage of entertainment related news. For the last two years, I am working with Janbharattimes. You may contact me on twitter or send an e-mail for any article related query at [email protected]
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