Top 10 Bollywood Movies Based on Real Incident

From rom-coms in the 90s to diving into stories inspired by real-life events, Bollywood has truly come a long way. Real stories have a unique way of stirring our emotions, especially when they unfold on the big screen. Bollywood has mastered the craft of transforming true tales into cinematic experiences, be it biographies, historical events, or narratives of crime and war. Here’s a list of must-watch Bollywood movies that draw inspiration from real events. We intentionally leave out biographies in this blog, as we believe they deserve a separate space. Here, we aim to cover stories centered around war, crime, and some of India’s remarkable history. Films like Raazi and Uri introduce us to India’s unsung heroes through the lens of celluloid art. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit these mind-bending yet beautiful tales of love, hate, justice, war, and all the myriad human emotions.

No One Killed Jessica

IMDB: 7.2

Directed by: Raj Kumar Gupta

No One Killed Jessica is a 2011 Bollywood crime drama directed by Rajkumar Gupta, starring Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan. The film is based on the real-life Jessica Lal murder case.

It follows the story of Sabrina Lall, Jessica’s sister, who fights for justice after Jessica is shot by a politician’s son. Disheartened by corruption and inefficiency in the legal system, Sabrina finds an ally in Meera Gaity, an NDTV employee, who exposes conspiracy and corruption leading to widespread protests. It is a heartbreaking story of struggle, pain, strength and power of people.

Watch it on Netflix 


IMDB: 7.9

Directed by: Raja Menon

Airlift is a 2016 Indian thriller directed by Raja Krishna Menon, starring Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur. The film follows Ranjit Katyal, a Kuwait-based businessman (played by Akshay), during the Gulf War. 

As Iraq invades Kuwait, Ranjit, once considering himself Kuwaiti, realizes the danger he and his family face. Unintentionally becoming the leader for 170,000 stranded Indians, Ranjit orchestrates their escape to safety in Amman, Jordan. Airlift portrays the incredible true story of the largest human evacuation in history, as the Indian government flew over 488 Air India flights to bring all Indians home safely over 59 days.

Watch it on Youtube

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URI: The Surgical Strike

IMDB: 8.2

Directed by: Aditya Dhar

Uri: The Surgical Strike is a 2019 Indian military action film written and directed by Aditya Dhar. Produced by Ronnie Screwvala, the movie is a fictionalized retelling of the true events following the 2016 Uri attacks. 

Starring Vicky Kaushal as Major Vihaan Shergill, the film portrays the Indian military’s surgical strike against suspected militants in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Divided into 5 chapters, it chronicles the 11 intense events leading to the covert operation in retaliation for a terrorist attack on an Indian army base. The film received critical and commercial success at the box office and was one of the best films of 2019.

Watch it on Zee5

Shootout at Lokhandwala

IMDB: 7.1

Directed by: Apoorva Lakhia

Shootout at Lokhandwala is a 2007 Indian action thriller directed by Apoorva Lakhia, co-written by Sanjay Gupta, produced by Ekta Kapoor, and written by Suresh Nair. Based on the 1991 Lokhandwala Complex shootout, the film stars Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty, and others. 

The story revolves around a real-life gun battle between gangsters and the Mumbai Police. In 1991, a group of criminals faces off against 286 policemen led by ACP Khan, resulting in a 6-hour shootout. The film depicts Khan’s pursuit of underworld gangster Maya and his partner Dilip, exploring the intense encounter and its aftermath, including legal challenges and human rights violations.

Watch it on JioCinema

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IMDB: 7.6

Directed by: Ram Gopal Varma

Sarkar is a 2005 Indian political crime thriller directed by Ram Gopal Varma, starring Amitabh Bachchan as Subhash Nagre, with Abhishek Bachchan, Kay Kay Menon, Katrina Kaif, and others. 

Subhash Nagre, a wealthy and influential figure in Bombay, faces family turmoil when his son Vishnu’s reckless actions lead to murder charges. The situation worsens when a politician is killed, and Subhash is framed as the mastermind. Arrested and isolated, Subhash confronts his loss of influence, family betrayals, and the shocking revelation that his own son is out to get him. The film has spun two sequels Sarkar raj and Sarkar 3 as well after its critical success.

Watch it on Disney+Hotstar


IMDB: 7.6

Directed by: Ram Madhvani

Neerja is a 2016 Indian biographical thriller directed by Ram Madhvani, written by Saiwyn Quadras and Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh, and produced by Atul Kasbekar’s Bling Unplugged and Fox Star Studios. 

Starring Sonam Kapoor as Neerja Bhanot, the film tells the true story of her bravery during the 1986 hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73. Neerja sacrificed her life to save 359 passengers and was posthumously honored with India’s highest military decoration, the Ashoka Chakra, for her courageous actions. This is a film of courage, patriotism, love and sacrifice and it’s a must watch if you still haven’t.

Watch it on Disney+Hotstar

Bandit queen

IMDB: 7.5

Directed by: Shekhar Kapur 

Bandit Queen is a 1994 Indian biographical action-adventure film based on the life of Phoolan Devi, portrayed in the book “India’s Bandit Queen: The True Story of Phoolan Devi” by Mala Sen. Directed by Shekhar Kapur, the film stars Seema Biswas as Phoolan Devi and features music by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. 

The movie, which won several awards, narrates the life of Phoolan Devi, who went from being a bandit to a legend during her imprisonment from 1983 to 1994. Though the press portrayed her as a modern Robin Hood, the film grapples with the challenge of presenting the truth about her average Indian identity. 

Watch it on Prime Video

Black Friday

IMDB: 8.4

Directed by: Anurag Kashyap

Black Friday is a 2004 Indian crime film written and directed by Anurag Kashyap, based on Hussain Zaidi’s book about the 1993 Bombay bombings. The movie delves into the events leading to the bombings and the subsequent police investigation. Produced by Arindam Mitra, the film features Pawan Malhotra, Kay Kay Menon, Aditya Srivastava, Kishor Kadam, and Zakir Hussain. 

Set against the backdrop of the 1993 Bombay bombings, the film portrays the police investigation led by DCP Rakesh Maria, tracking down suspects like Bashir Khan. The narrative unfolds the apathy during the destruction of the Babri Masjid, police inability to protect the vulnerable, and the aftermath that polarized communities. The film also explores Pakistan’s involvement, the alleged suspects Dawood Ibrahim and Mushtaq Memon seeking refuge in Dubai, and a plot to assassinate right-wing politicians Bal Thackeray and L.K. Advani. 

Watch it on Disney+Hotstar


IMDB: 7.7

Directed by: Meghna Gulzar

Raazi is a 2018 Indian spy thriller directed by Meghna Gulzar and produced by Vineet Jain, Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar, and Apoorva Mehta under Junglee Pictures and Dharma Productions. Starring Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Rajit Kapur, Shishir Sharma, and Jaideep Ahlawat, the film adapts Harinder Sikka’s novel “Calling Sehmat.” 

The story revolves around Sehmat, an Indian RAW agent married into a Pakistani military family to gather information before the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Trained by senior RAW officer Khalid Mir, Sehmat faces complex challenges as her loyalty is tested in her marriage to Iqbal Syed, the son of a high-ranking Pakistani officer. Sehmat’s intelligence leads to the sinking of the Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi by INS Rajput off the coast of Visakhapatnam. As a result, India emerges victorious in the battle, securing the liberation of Bangladesh and temporarily annexing Lahore. Pakistan surrenders in the aftermath.

Watch it on Prime Video


IMDB: 7.1

Directed by: Hansal Mehta

Omerta is a 2017 Indian biographical crime drama directed by Hansal Mehta, featuring Rajkumar Rao as Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British terrorist of Pakistani origin. 

The film is about the 1994 kidnappings of Westerners in India, leading to Omar’s arrest and imprisonment. It also explores the plot to murder Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. The movie recounts the notorious actions of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the British-born terrorist involved in the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl.

Watch it on Prime Video

So here we covered some of the most loved, real life based movies made in India. The list is endless but we will make sure to bring a part 2 of it soon. Tell us in the comments which is your favorite movie based on real life incidents.

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