It so happens that any film that is supposedly based on a true story has the ability to capture attention. History has had inspiring stories and great personalities, just about enough for any filmmaker to translate into movies which end up being successful.
However, it isn't always possible for a filmmaker to be completely true to facts given that they need to make films that have drama, interesting characters, and so on. More often than not, screenwriters or directors take "creative liberty" a step ahead by bending details to make for a satisfying cinematic experience.
Here are five films based on history and/or true stories that weren’t without some inaccuracies:
Russel Crowe delivers some awe-inspiring words in Gladiator and one can almost imagine his character Maximus Decimus Meridius speaking them out almost 2000 years ago at the Colosseum. Unfortunately, this never occurred, since Maximus is fictional. Also, Commodus ruled over Rome for 12 years unlike the short while shown in the movie. Further, his death actually brought chaos and Civil War in Rome as opposed to the calm shown in the film.
Pearl Harbor (2001)
This Michael Bay film uses fictional characters to depict the dramatic Japanese attack on the United States that triggered the nation's entry into World War II. While the film has realistic explosions, there were several other things that historians weren't very happy about. A historian once said that the film's action bears little more than a "remote resemblance" to the real event.
One of the few inaccuracies is the inclusion of Ben Affleck’s character in the Eagle Squadron even though active-duty U.S. airmen were prohibited from joining the squadron. The other, perhaps, is the fake depiction of deliberate firing and murder of civilians among other atrocities by Japanese forces.
Argo is based on a relatively unknown story of the of the rescue of six US diplomats from Tehran during the 1979-1981 Iran hostage crisis. It is a fine film, undoubtedly. However, it is said that it glorifies America while downplaying the support offered during the operation by other countries. When in reality, the Canadian government performed most of the rescue operation. The film also portrays diplomats being turned away by the UK and New Zealand embassies, while in reality the two embassies assisted the operation.
Bajirao Mastani (2015)
How can one not step into the presence of something extraordinarily creative the minute you step into the world of Sanjay Leela Bhansali? And it isn't any different in the case of Bajirao Mastani. Especially when you have Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra. Bajirao Mastani may look and feel gloriously epic, however, it has its share of inaccuracies. For instance, Bajirao and Mastani did not die on the same day as shown in the film. Mastani died several months later. Their son Shamsher Bahadur was never taken away forcefully either.
Raja Menon's film Airlift, starring Akshay Kumar, tugged at heartstrings on the eve of Republic Day in 2016. The return of more than 1.5 lakh Indian workers from Kuwait and Iraq was a remarkable Indian achievement and obviously deserved a film. Apparently, a certain ministry criticised the film for taking artistic liberties with actual events.
Airlift shows the Indian Embassy in Kuwait being evacuated soon after the entry of Iraqi troops and that it is left to local businessmen to negotiate with the Iraqis and to organize refugee camps. Contrary to this portrayal, diplomats have said that the Indian Mission in Kuwait wasn't closed.
Bollywood's latest blockbuster that is Dangal doesn't completely stay true to the story of Mahavir Singh Phogat either. Based on the real-life story of the wrestler and his determination to make his daughters gold medal winners for India, this film received a lot of love and still continues to do so. But, again, there have been various facts that have been altered to keep audiences hooked. For example, Geeta's coach has been portrayed as a villain in the film, when in reality Geeta had no villainous coach. Also, in the last scene of the film, Geeta’s father Mahavir is locked up by a person Geeta’s coach sent so that he misses the final match. However, this is untrue. He was present in the stadium.