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From News Headlines To Silver Screen (Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing)

20 Dec, 2021 | Articles on Cinema

Apart from the biographies of the iconic figures and official films made on real-life events, there is a related genre in cinema that rarely gets discussed or quoted by films enthusiasts. This is the genre in which writers-directors get ideas while reading the headlines/articles in a newspaper or magazine and then conceive an entire film on the same, without disclosing the actual event and names. At times, they honestly reveal the source in their interviews, or the film’s credits, in an indicative manner. But most of the time, it later gets known, post the film’s success, getting more attention.
Stating a few key films in this genre, in 1957 writer-director V. Shantaram based his Do Ankhen Barah Haath on a real ‘free-prison’ experiment conducted by a visionary person in a remote region of British India. The director mentioned his source of inspiration in the credits, but without quoting the names of any person or region.
In the late 50s, the news of a bank official’s murder by two men in a moving car shocked Madras (now Chennai). It was a planned conspiracy as the manager was carrying huge cash heading towards his branch. The case was reported in the local newspapers and that’s from where producer A. Bhimsingh took the idea for his Tamil film Sadhu Mirandal (1966). He later directed the same in Hindi as Sadhu Aur Shaitaan in 1968, featuring Mehmood, Pran, and Om Prakash in the lead roles.
One of the most famous, cult films of Hindi cinema, Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) was also derived from a news report. Manmohan Desai read the news of an alcoholic man leaving his three kids in a park in a state of frustration and used it as a seed for his script. Taking the thought forward along with Prayag Raj as a team, they further wrote the three kids being taken away/adopted by the representatives of three different religions.
The concept of deriving script ideas from news clips or articles continued even in the new millennium.
In 2004, writer-director Tigmanshu Dhulia based his film Charas on the concept of the illegal drug trade and foreigners hiding in the mountain regions, after reading a surprising article about the lesser-known facts in a magazine.
Around the same time, a young model was reported to be living on the streets begging for food, after her short but happening career in the world of fashion. Director Madhur Bhandarkar used the same as one of the major sub-plots of his film Fashion released in 2008.
Around 2001, the Chandni Chowk region of Delhi became quite tense with the reported attacks of a Monkey Man aka Kala Bandar. It created big chaos and remains a mystery to date. Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra based the script of his Delhi-6 on this mysterious incident released in 2009. 
In the late 80s, a group of men posing as CBI officers made a fake Income Tax raid on the showroom of a famous jeweller. Writer-director Neeraj Pandey wrote his film Special 26 inspired by the same case. Interestingly, Rakesh Roshan’s Khel revolving around conmen, also began with a similar sequence of a fake raid on a jewellery showroom, released in 1992.
In the last decade, a still discussed case of Talwars in Noida shook the nation, leading to a big debate. While the film Talwar was officially based on the case, another film, Rahasya, derived its script, taking clear inspiration from the murder, presenting it as a solved case. Both the films got released in 2015 with their share of controversies.
A few years back, the concerning MeToo movement brought forward several cases widely reported in the news. Section 375 (2019) was a film made after a thorough study of such cases, receiving wide appreciation. Anubhav Sinha also conceived his film Article 15 (2019) on the real-life incidents of caste discrimination, still regular in news even in the present new age.
Coming to the most recent addition to the genre, you must have heard about or seen the currency notes with ‘Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai’ scribbled on them by some random person. The case of such notes got viral when their pics were shared on the social network, also becoming the subject of several hilarious memes. Looking at its popularity, they have made an entire film on the theme as a social-comedy, with the title Kya Meri Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai? (2021). Directed by Ssaurabh Tyagi, it has been released on a leading OTT portal, featuring Surbhi Jyoti, Jassie Gill, and Brijendra Kala in the lead.

On a concluding note, the genre of films derived from news clippings and articles might be the most frequently discussed or quoted genre of cinema. But it has always been there and is here to stay, as cinema remains the mirror of our society and it largely gets derived from the life around. 

Bobby Sing
NOTE : The article was first published in THE FREE PRESS JOURNAL Newspaper (Mumbai Edition) on 19th December 2021.
Note : The write-up is a chapter shared from my upcoming book releasing soon. So any additions, rectifications suggested by friends are welcome to make it better.
Did You Know By Bobby SingFor more such interesting articles on lesser known facts on Hindi Cinema, do try DID YOU KNOW Series by Bobby Sing available in both Book and E-book form.

Also available 
at Notionpress and Flipkart stores (in India)
The book is now also available in Hindi titled 
ITNA TO YAAD HAI MUJHE published by Prabhat Prakashan

Tags : From News Headlines To Silver Screen by Bobby Sing in bobbytalkscinema.com, Films inspired from News headlines and articles, Hindi films inspired from Newspapers headlines, Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing
20 Dec 2021 / Comment ( 2 )
Vishnu Mahesh Sharma

Hello Bobby ji,
Sometimes I am truely moved by your research and passion for the cinema. As usual this has again been an enlightening and informative article. What makes it even more special is the fact that it is coming from a rare breed to cine lovers who are still keeping the art of articles alive when even the most stalwarts of film jaournalism have shifted to the trend of videos and vlogs.

Having said that, I found it a bit baffeling that there is no mention of "Not A Love Story" which was based of Neeraj Grover murder case. Also, the one film I expected to there was "Paanch" which had some key elements based on Joshi-Abhyankar serial murder cases. 

And you enlisting "Not A Love Story" in "Movies to See Before Die" but missing that here, makes the case even more puzzling.
I would love to hear your views on these two missing cases.

Vishnu Mahesh Sharma

Bobby Sing

Hi Vishnu Mahesh Sharma,
Many loving thanks for your kind words of praise and support to the art/passion of writing articles instead of making social network videos. We really are losing a lot to the few minutes videos more relying on gimmicks, forced acts and controversies.
Regarding the exclusions, I had "Not A Love Story" in mind but couldn't add due to limitation of words in newspaper print media. But I really didnt had "Paanch" in mind and had missed that.
So thanks a lot for making the valuable addition, I will certainly add both while re-editing the article in my upcoming books as a dedicated chapter.
Thanks a lot once again,
And keep visiting and writing in

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