A great man once quoted “there is nothing permanent except change”. This applies to every aspect of our life, including entertainment. Gladly, the Bollywood industry is also changing – maybe because audience’s taste is changing to.
Gone are the days when all that was required for a superhit was a pointless romantic comedy, featuring overrated actors with sculpted Bodies. The Drubbing of Jab Harry Met Sejal and Tubelight testify the fact. Nowadays, picture sirf entertainment, entertainment, aur entertainment se nahi chalti; a sensible plot, a coherent message, and phenomenal acting are the new ingredients, and what other than true events can be more fascinating in this case.
Maybe, that is the reason why biopics like Pan Singh Tomar, Bhag Milkha Bhag, Dangal, MS Dhoni, and Sachin: A billion dreams were able to leave a mark at the box office. However, biopics are not an entirely new genre in Hindi films. The life stories of great people have inspired the filmmakers ever since the dawn of the industry. Examples of movies like Bose, Legend of Bhagat Singh and Bandit Queen can be taken as good test cases.
But the main reason why people prefer biopics over any other masala movies is because, for one, they find it relatively easy to connect to real life stories than to fictional tales. Second, when people are low and uninspired, biopics are a great medium to mine some inspiration and learn from the struggles of people who challenged the adversities and went on to become ‘role models’.
While we are talking about getting inspired from great life stories, why keep it restricted to sportsmen or Freedom Fighters? Scientists can be a great inspiration too. Hollywood has successfully created some wonderful biopics about Scientists. The Imitation Game is arguably the best biopic about a scientist. During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tried to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians. The movie beautifully captures his genius along with his life struggles (Won’t spoil it for you). Similarly Temple Grandin the movie, captures the life and times of autistic scientist Temple Grandin, A Beautiful Mind about Mathematician John Nash and The Theory of Everything about Stephen Hawking are gripping biopics too.
India has had a fair share of gifted scientists whose life stories can be turned into entertaining and inspirational biopics.
So here are some eminent Indian Scientists known for their exceptional contribution in their respective fields of study who deserve portrayal of their life on silver screen:
1.Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha – popularly known as the Father of India’s nuclear program, Dr Bhabha had initiated a successful nuclear programme in Great Britain and was in India on vacation when World War II began in September 1939. As luck would have it, he was forced to stay back. His skillfulness and devotion rose him to gain a leading position for allocating the scientific resources of India.
He was the first one to become the chairperson of India’s Atomic Energy Commission in the year 1948. Absolutely against India manufacturing nuclear bombs even if the country had enough resources to do so, he suggested the production of an atomic reactor to lessen India’s misery and poverty, and the first atomic reactor was operated in Bombay in the year 1956. He died in a tragic plane crash, the causes for which are widely debated till date.
2. Dr CV Raman – One of India’s most revered scientists and Nobel prize winning Physicist, Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, kicked a high paying civil services job after 10 years of service because he believed that science was worth more than money.
Today Raman spectroscopy, which relies on these ‘fingerprints,’ is used in laboratories all over the world to identify molecules and to analyse living cells and tissues to detect diseases such as cancer.
What can we learn: no matter what you do, your knowledge is never a waste. And as Paulo Coelho writes in the Alchemist, “When you really desire something from the heart and soul, all the universe conspires you to achieve it”.
3. APJ Abdul Kalam: Born in a poor Tamil family, he fought all economic adversities and rose to become the President of India. Bestowed with many prestigious honours including Bharat Ratna, he is hailed as the missile man for his tremendous efforts in missile development and representation of ‘Smiling Buddha’ which was the first nuclear test to be conducted.
What can his biopic teach: In his own words, “Never give up on your dreams!”
4. SN Bose: The mathematician and physicist – Satyendra Nath Bose, is noted for work with Albert Einstein in developing a theory about the gas-like properties of electromagnetic radiation, among other things.
After his research paper being rejected by a Physics Journal, he sent it directly to Albert Einstein, who found it valuable and extended it further.
What message can his biopic radiate: if you have the talent, sooner or later you’ll find recognition, NEVER STOP TRYING!
5. Meghnad Saha: Meghnad Saha was an eminent Indian astrophysicist who gave the world the theory of ionization which explained the origin of stellar spectra.
Meghnad Saha came a long way from his humble beginnings in a small village. Born into a poor family, he struggled to get primary education. But the brilliant and hardworking boy never gave up and rose to the heights of fame and glory through his unrelenting dedication and commitment towards science. He started his research at a time when he didn’t even have access to a well-equipped laboratory or a research guide. Yet he went on to propound what became known as the Saha equation which is used to describe the chemical and physical conditions in stars.
What message does Saha’s story convey: If you are committed, you’ll find a way to make it large!
These are just five personalities, but there are many more including Vikram Sarabhai, Visvesvaraya, Radhakrishnan, Ramanujan etc. who changed the world with their vision and the world needs to know their story – not for the sake of entertainment, but for the legacy they have left for new generations.