Bollywood Movies Based on True Stories

Bollywood movies play a powerful medium in creating awareness about the real events that are otherwise overlooked. While many of them prove to be a commercial hit however, there are many movies that strike a chord with the audience and went on to become finest films of Hindi Cinema. Whether it is Aamir Khan Starrer Dangal or Akshay Kumar’s Padman, one of the common things about them is that they both are based on real stories and have been motivational in their own ways. Here we have shortlisted 30 Bollywood movies based on true stories that will definitely inspire you.

Top Real Story Movies in Bollywood

1. Black Friday (2004)

Star Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Pavan Malhotra, Aditya Srivastava, Imtiaz Ali, Pratima Kazmi, Zakir Hussain

Directed By: Anurag Kashyap

IMDB Rating: 8.5

Available on: Disney + Hotstar

The crime thriller is inspired by Hussain Zaidi’s book Black Friday – The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts. The film is based on the true-life events that led to bomb blasts, followed by the police investigation.

The movie was premiered at Locarno International Film Festival in 2004 and was supposed to release in Indian in the same year; however, the Bombay High Court kept the movie on hold, it was then released in 2007.

2. Dangal (2016)

Star Cast: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Zaira Wasim, Sanya Malhotra, Suhani Bhatnagar, Aparshakti Khurana, Girish Kulkarni

Directed By: Nitesh Tiwari

IMDB Rating: 8.4

Available on: Netflix

Aamir Khan starrer Dangal is loosely based on the Phogat family. The titular role of Mahavir Singh Phogat is played by the Khan itself. The movie is an inspiration, especially for the girls, as it rightly says- girls are no less than anyone!

The film broke many records at the box office and became one of the top-rated Bollywood movies based on real life.

3. URI: The Surgical Strike (2019)

Star Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Yami Gautam, Mohit Raina, Paresh Rawal

Directed By: Aditya Dhar

IMDB Rating: 8.3

Available on: Zee5, Amazon Prime, and Netflix

URI: The Surgical Strike is a tribute to the Indian Army. Owing to its screenplay and power-packed acting of the stars like Vicky Kaushal, Yami Gautam, Mohit Raina & Paresh Rawal, the movie was one of the best movies of 2019 and was also amongst the highest-grossing Indian films.

4. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)

Star Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Sonam K Ahuja, Divya Dutta, Meesha Shafi, Pawan Malhotra, Yograj Singh, Art Malik, Prakash Raj

Directed By: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

IMDB Rating: 8.2

Available on: Disney+ Hotstar

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag portrayed the life story of the Milkha Singh, an Indian athlete who won first gold medal for India in the commonwealth game and was a national champion runner. He is also known as Flying machine.

Farhan Akhtar played the lead role of Milkha Singh. The movie was critically acclaimed for its motivational storyline and became one of the top Bollywood movies based on true stories.

5. Paan Singh Tomar (2010)

Star Cast: Irrfan Khan, Mahie Gill, Vipin Sharma, Rajendra Gupta

Directed By: Tigmanshu Dhulia

IMDB Rating: 8.2

Available on: YouTube

It is the story of Paan Singh Tomar, an Indian athlete who became the most feared dacoits of Chambal after his retirement. The ace actor Irrfan Khan played the role of the protagonist.

As it features true incidents, Paan Singh Tomar is one of the best Bollywood movies based on true stories. 

6. Talvar (2015)

Star Cast: Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Neeraj Kabi

Directed By: Meghna Gulzar

IMDB Rating: 8.2

Available on: Disney+ Hotstar

Talvar is based on the true murder story of- 2008 Noida double murder case. The movie showcases the investigation of the case from different perspectives.

The film was a success on the box office. Vishal Bhardwaj won the Best Adapted Screenplay Award at the 63rd National Film Awards for the movie. This is amongst the best Hindi movies based on true stories.

7. Swades (2004)

Star Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Kishori Ballal

Directed By: Ashutosh Gowariker

IMDB Rating: 8.2

Available on: YouTube

Next in our list of Bollywood movies on true stories is Shah Rukh Khan’s movie-Swades. The story of this Hindi movie is loosely inspired by NRI couple Aravinda Pillalamarri and Ravi Kuchimanchi, who came back to India and developed a pedal power generator for girls’ school.

Though the movie was not a massive success at the box office, over the years, it has become cult classic.

8. Shahid (2012)

Star Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Kay Kay Menon, Prabhleen Sandhu, and Prabal Panjabi

Directed By: Hansal Mehta

IMDB Rating: 8.2

Available on: YouTube 

The biographical drama movie is based on the real-life of human rights activists and lawyers- Shahid Azmi who was killed in 2010. Azmi never compromised his morals, which later became an inspiration for many.

Shahid is one of the gems of the Bollywood. It is currently available on YouTube; watch it if you have missed the movie at the time of its release.

9. Chak De! India (2007)

Star Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Vidya Malvade, Sagarika Ghatge, Shilpa Shukla, Tanya Abrol, Anaitha Nair, Arya Menon

Directed By: Shimit Amin

IMDB Rating: 8.2

Available on: YouTube and Amazon Prime

While the movie throws light on various social issues that include feminism and nationalism, the film is a biography of former coach of Indian men’s national field hockey team. His team lost the match against Pakistan, and his loyalties towards the country were in question, owing to which he left the job.

Years later, he made a comeback as Indian women’s national field hockey coach. He established his team that went to become the number 1 hockey team. The movie won many awards. Chak De is indeed amongst the top Bollywood movies based on true stories.

10. Article 15

Star Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Nassar, Manoj Pahwa, Kumud Mishra, Isha Talwar, Sayani Gupta, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Sushil Pandey

Directed By: Anubhav Sinha

IMDB Rating: 8.2

Available on: Netflix

The movie is inspired by multiple real events such as the 2014 Badaun gang-rape allegations and the 2016 Una flogging incident.

It is mainly based on Article 15 of the Indian constitution that prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, religion, and place of birth. The movie supports the truth! Article 15 is a must-watch!

11. Gully Boy (2019)

Star Cast: Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Kalki Koechlin, Vijay Raaz

Directed By: Zoya Akhtar

IMDB Rating: 8.1

Available on: Amazon Prime

Gully Boy is a real-life story of the Indian rapper- Naezy (played by Ranveer Singh). The movie explores Naezy’s struggle to get fame in the industry. It is one of the top-rated Bollywood movies that inspired many to make their dream come true.

12. The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)

Star Cast: Ajay Devgan, Sushant Singh, D. Santosh, Akhilendra Mishra

Directed By: Rajkumar Santoshi

IMDB Rating: 8

Available on: Netflix

The Legend of Bhagat Singh is the biopic of the Indian revolutionist Bhagat Singh. Ajay Devgan played the titular role. The movie is undoubtedly inspirational as it evokes the feeling of patriotism amongst the countrymen.

If you have not watched the movie, do watch it on the OTT platforms like Netflix.

13. Airlift (2016)

Star Cast: Akshay Kumar, Nimrat Kaur, Feryna Wazheir, Inaamulhaq

Directed By: Raja Krishna Menon

IMDB Rating: 8

Available on: YouTube and Amazon

Airlift is an inspirational story of the unsung hero- Ranjit Katyal, who made India proud. The historical drama follows a Kuwait-based businessman- Ranjit Katyal’s (played by Akshay Kumar)  hardship to save more than 170,000 citizens during Kuwait’s invasion from Saddam Hussein.

The movie was well-received by the Indian audience and is truly inspiration for many!

14. Manjhi – The Mountain Man (2015)

Star Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Urmila Mahanta, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Gaurav Dwivedi

Directed By: Ketan Mehta

IMDB Rating: 8

Available on: YouTube

Manjhi- The Mountain Man is one of the inspirational movies based on true stories. The movie revolves around Dashrath Manjhi (laborer in Bihar village), who carved a path through a hill by using only a chisel and hammer after his wife’s death. She could not access the hospital due to the high mountain and thus.

The film also narrates his fight with the government to make his village- Gehlaur developed. Nawazuddin Siddiqui played the role of Manjhi. The actor was applauded for his stellar acting.

15. Sardar (1993)

Star Cast: Paresh Rawal, Annu Kapoor, Benjamin Gilani, Tom Alter

Directed By: Ketan Mehta

IMDB Rating: 7.9

Available on: Netflix

Sardar is a biographical drama film on India’s greatest freedom fighter-Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The film embraces his life journey from a brat to one of the Indian freedom fighters. It also highlights all the major work done by the iron man of the country.

16. Pad Man (2018)

Star Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, and Radhika Apte

Directed By: R. Balki

IMDB Rating: 7.9

Available on: Netflix

Pad Man is also one of the real story based Bollywood movies. It explores the struggles and difficulties faced by a social entrepreneur in order to make economical sanitary pads for women.

The movie is defiantly inspirational as it shows how a common man tries his best to break the stereotype attached to the menstruation and sanitary pads.

17. Border (1997)

Star Cast: Sunny Deol, Sunil Shetty, Akshaye Khanna, Raakhee, Jackie Shroff, Tabu, Sudesh Berry, Pooja Bhatt, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Puneet Issar

Directed By: J. P. Dutta

IMDB Rating: 7.9

Available on: Netflix

Written and produced by J. P. Dutta, Border is based on the soldiers’ real-life stories that participated in the Battle of Longewala in 1971.

The movie has many famous songs like Sandese aate hai to its kitty. The movie is currently available on Netflix. Do watch it if you haven’t watched the movie yet.

18. Raazi (2018)

Star Cast: Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal

Directed By: Meghna Gulzar

IMDB Rating: 7.8

Available on: YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+Hotstar

Next in our list of Bollywood movies based on true stories is Alia Bhatt starrer Raazi. The film is inspired by Harinder Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat.

The novel is based on the true story of an Indian military official who, at his father’s request, marries an army official in Pakistan to access important information before the 1971 war. Raazi is one of the best movies of Bollywood!

19. M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016)

Star Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Kiara Advani, Disha Patani, Bhumika Chawla, Anupam Kher

Directed By: Neeraj Pandey

IMDB Rating: 7.8

Available on: Disney+Hotstar and Amazon Prime

Undoubtedly, it is one of the best Bollywood movies based on true stories! It revolves around the life of former captain Mahender Singh Dhoni.

The movie divulges his struggle to become an ace cricketer and lead the Indian cricket team. Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput played the role of Dhoni. The film was also dubbed in various languages such as Telugu and Tamil.

20. Neerja (2016)

Star Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Yogendra Tiku, Shekhar Ravjiani, Kavi Shastri, Sadh Orhan

Directed By: Ram Madhvani

IMDB Rating: 7.7

Available on: Disney+Hotstar

The movie’s plot is based on the real-life event that took place during the hijack of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi. Neerja was an air hostess who succumbed to death while saving the life of the passengers.

The movie shows the courage of Indian women and how she became the savior of thousands of passengers. The film received many accolades and awards.

21. Guru (2007)

Star Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Mithun Chakraborty, R. Madhavan, Vidya Balan

Directed By: Mani Ratnam

IMDB Rating: 7.7

Available on:

Guru is amongst the top-rated Hindi movies based on true stories. The movie portrays the real-life story of Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani (Dhirubhai Ambani), the Indian business tycoon who founded Reliance.

It showcases his struggle and hardships to set up his own business in his native country. The movie received many accolades for the story and direction. Dhirubhai Ambani is truly an inspiration for all the budding businessmen!

22. The Ghazi Attack (2017)

Star Cast: Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon, Atul Kulkarni, Taapsee Pannu

Directed By: Sankalp Reddy

IMDB Rating: 7.6

Available on: Amazon Prime

The Ghazi Attack is based on a real event from the Indo Pakistan war that took place in 1971. The story revolves around the naval officer of an Indian Submarine and his team, which remained underwater during the war. 

The movie was simultaneously released in Hindi and Telugu and went on to become the Best Telugu feature film.

23. Kesari (2019)

Star Cast: Akshay Kumar, Parineeti Chopra, Mir Sarwar, Toranj Kayvon

Directed By: Anurag Singh

IMDB Rating: 7.4

Available on: Amazon Prime

Akshay Kumar starrer Kesari is one of the patriotic movies of Bollywood. The movie is inspired by the Battle of Saragarhi that took place in the year 1897.

In the battle ground, army of 21 Sikhs fought against more than 10,000 Afghans. The movie was praised for its cinematography and brilliant acting.

24. Sarbjit (2016)

Star Cast: Aishwarya Rai, Randeep Hooda, Richa Chadha, Darshan Kumaar

Directed By: Omung Kumar

IMDB Rating: 7.3

Available on: YouTube

Sarbjit is a biographical drama film that portrays the real-life of Sarabjit Singh, who was given the sentence of death by Pakistan’s Supreme Court. Singh and his family struggled for more than 22 years to seek justice.

Randeep Hooda essayed the pivotal role. The movie received mixed reviews from the critics; however, it is an inspiration for all the Indians struggling for justice.

25. No One Killed Jessica (2011)

Star Cast: Rani Mukerji, Vidya Balan, Myra Karn

Directed By: Raj Kumar Gupta

IMDB Rating: 7.2

Available on: YouTube and Netflix

No one Killed Jessica unfolds true-life incidents of Jessica’s murder case. Jessica was a model with roots in Delhi. She was murdered by Manu Sharma, the son of Vinod Sharma (a member of congress). 

The movie explores the struggle of a sister who seeks justice for her sister. Rani and Vidya Balan played the lead role in the film.

26. Bajirao Mastani (2015)

Star Cast: Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra,

Directed By: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

IMDB Rating: 7.2

Available on: Eros Now, Jio Cinema, and Voot

Bajirao Mastani is a historical drama inspired by the real-life of Peshwa Bajirao from the 17th century.

Though the movie was objected for its storyline, however, on its release, it received positive reviews and went on to become one of the best romantic Bollywood movies of all time.

27. Batla House (2019)

Star Cast: John Abraham, Nora Fateh, Ravi Kishan, Sonam Arora

Directed By: Nikkhil Advani

IMDB Rating: 7.2

Available on: Amazon Prime

The Hindi action thriller is inspired by the real-life case-Batla House encounter case. The movie revolves around the Police Officer- Sanjeev Kumar Yadav (played by John Abraham), who played an important role in the case. The film was commercially hit at the box office and is one of Bollywood’s best real story movies.

28. Mary Kom (2014)

Star Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Sunil Thapa, Robin Das

Directed By: Omung Kumar

IMDB Rating: 6.8

Available on:  Amazon Prime and Netflix

Mary Kom states the true-life chronicles of the Indian Boxer, Mary Kom, who became a successful Indian sportswoman. The movie features her hardships and struggles to balance her personal and professional life.

Priyanka Chopra got into the skin of Mary Com and proved that the desi girl is no less than a true star!

29. Mission Mangal (2019)

Star Cast: Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, Nithya Menen, Kirti Kulhari

Sharman Joshi, H. G. Dattatreya, and Vikram Gokhale

Directed By: Jagan Shakti

IMDB Rating: 6.5

Available on: Disney+ Hotstar

The movie is loosely based on the professional and personal life of scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation who contributed to the first interplanetary expedition- Mars Orbiter Mission, which became a success and made the country proud.

‘The movie has a stellar star cast including Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, etc.

30. Manikarnika- The Queen of Jhansi (2019)

Star Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Ankita Lokhande, Jisshu Sengupta, Mishti

Directed By: Kangana Ranaut, Krish

IMDB Rating: 6.4

Available on: Amazon Prime

Manikarnika is a biopic of Rani Lakshmi Bai- a women freedom fighter who gave her life on the battlefield while fighting with Britishers.

The lead role was played by the ace actress Kangana Ranaut. This inspirational movie received mixed reviews; however, it remains one of Bollywood’s best women-oriented films.

Conclusion:

Bollywood has made an array of movies that are based on real stories and events. Some of them have been commercially hit, and some could not do great business at the Box office but left a substantial impact on its audience. The blog has best of the Bollywood movies that are inspired by true stories.

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