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From ‘Mahanati’ to ‘Yatra’: Telugu filmmakers speak on the biopic craze in Tollywood

It’s raining biopics in Tollywood. There was a time when only Bollywood was producing movies like Bhaag Milka Bhaag, Mary Kom or Neerja. But after the release of Mahanati, writers in the Telugu cinema industry are in the process of churning out far more challenging scripts that go beyond regular biopics.

We are not sure when Shraddha Kapoor will reprise Saina Nehwal, but Sudheer Babu is soon hitting the badminton court to get in shape for Pullela Gopichand’s biopic. Meanwhile, actor Sonu Sood is planning his directorial debut with a biopic on badminton star PV Sindhu. With the yet to be named NTR biopic and Yatra, a biopic on YSR, already being touted as the most awaited releases of 2019, Tollywood is in for a feast.

A fine balance between truth and drama

Biopics are known for their affinity to controversies. Dubbed as patronised versions of truth, directors are often blamed for whitewashing vices into virtues when it comes to the protagonist around whom the biopic is woven.

According to Mahi V Raghav, director of Yatra, there can be no honest biopics.  “Biopics are looked through the prism of the main character. The story woven around them are dramatized versions of reality. If people come to theatres to watch an honest portrayal of the protagonist’s life, they can rather read a book or watch a documentary. For a biopic to run, drama in it is quintessential,” Mahi says.

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