The realist strand of Hindi cinema has produced a number of biopics, notably about the nationalist leaders of the freedom struggle, including the Indo-British co-production Gandhi (1982). 1 However, there were few biopics in mainstream Hindi cinema (“Bollywood”) until the early 2000s. The first cycle of biopics during this period was part of the revival of the historical genre. 2 These films were mostly about national leaders including Ashoka, the emperor who united much of India in the third century BC (Asoka/Ashoka the Great, 2001); Bhagat Singh, an anti-colonial revolutionary, whose story featured in the 2006 hit Rang de Basanti/Paint it saffron; Mangal Pandey, a semi-legendary hero of the 1857 uprisings, featured in The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey (2005); and the Great Mughal, Akbar, who was the subject of Jodhaa Akbar (2008). 3