Real to reel: Movies that were inspired by major real-life events

January 31, 2021 1:45 AM

The year 2020 was a dramatic one. Not surprisingly, many movies have been announced revolving around it and the pandemic. The recent Anne Hathaway-starrer Locked Down, for example, talks about the lockdown days of 2020.

This was in retaliation of the Uri attack of September 18, 2016, reported as the ‘deadliest attack on the security forces in Kashmir in two decades’ in which 17 army personnel were killed.This was in retaliation of the Uri attack of September 18, 2016, reported as the ‘deadliest attack on the security forces in Kashmir in two decades’ in which 17 army personnel were killed.

By Reya Mehrotra

Uri: The Surgical Strike
The 2019 military action film, starring Vicky Kaushal, was based on the 2016 surgical strikes. The strikes were carried out against militant launch pads across the LoC in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. This was in retaliation of the Uri attack of September 18, 2016, reported as the ‘deadliest attack on the security forces in Kashmir in two decades’ in which 17 army personnel were killed.

Talking of movies inspired by real events, Titanic tops the list. After striking an iceberg, RMS Titanic sunk in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912. Out of the 2,200 people on board, 1,500 were reported dead. The 1997 romantic film Titanic, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, is based on the event. One of the most iconic films in Hollywood, Titanic has won a total of 11 Academy Awards. In the movie, the lead pair, belonging to two different social classes, falls in love. The love story entwined with human loss strongly conveys the emotional impact of the disaster.

The Gatekeepers
The 2012 documentary film narrates the story of Israel Security Agency Shin Bet from the perspective of its former heads. The film includes footage and interviews to show the role the agency has played in the security of Israel from the 1967 war till the present day. The film was nominated at the 85th Academy Awards.

Pearl Harbour
The American lagoon harbour in Hawaii is the US Naval base. The attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 by the Japanese Navy led the US to declare a war on Japan, making it an immediate cause of the US’s entry into World War II. The 2001 romantic war drama Pearl Harbour, based on the event, stars Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale and others, and is a fictionalised version of the attack and its aftermath. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards.

The 1947 partition of India remains one of the most important events in south Asian history, wherein lakhs of migrating people suffered and lost lives. The 2003 period drama Pinjar is based on the Hindu-Muslim issues during the time of the partition. Starring Manoj Bajpayee and Urmila Matondkar, it is based on a Punjabi novel of the same name by Amrita Pritam. The movie won the National Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration. In the movie, a young Hindu girl Puro is kidnapped by a Muslim man Rashid to avenge a family feud.

Schindler’s List
The 1993 American historical drama is directed by Steven Spielberg and is based on the 1982 novel Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Kenneally. The movie is based on the life of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who is
credited with saving lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. The movie is often listed as one of the greatest films ever made and received international acclaim from critics when it released. Nominated for 12 Academy Awards, it won seven of them. Schindler and his wife were named ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ by the Israeli government in 1993, an honour used by Israel for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Based on Bhisham Sahni’s 1974 novel, the 1988 movie Tamas is based on the plight of families migrating during the time of the 1947 partition. The novel won the author a Sahitya Akademi Award in 1975. Tamas literally means darkness and the movie brings out the dark realities of the partition. The movie stars Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, Amrish Puri, among others. The movie also won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.

The Invisible War
The 2012 documentary movie by Kirby Dick talks about sexual assault in the US military. The movie was appreciated by journalists, advocates and lawmakers for bringing the issue to light and influencing government policies to reduce rape in the armed forces. The film features interviews of veterans from various branches of the forces recounting the events of their assaults. The reports, however, led to convictions of only 244 perpetrators out of thousands of them. It shows first-person accounts, real footage of survivors documenting the aftermath and the struggles in their daily lives.

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