By: Renu Jain Chandra @renujc
Read a Good Movie Lately? Here are some Bollywood movies inspired by books: Looking for a good ‘cheat sheet’ way to read a classic? Why not watch a Bollywood film that’s based on one!
My favorite has always been Devdas, a novel originally written by the famous Bengali author Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1917. The novel was brought to life when it came to the big screen in 1955 (directed by Bimal Roy) and then again in 2002 (directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali) starring Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit.
A close second for me has to be Omkara (2006) directed by Vishal Bhardawaj, based on Shakespeare’s Othello. It stars Ajay Devgan, Kareena Kapoor, Bipasha Basu and Saif Ali Khan. If you haven’t seen Omkara, I highly recommend it. Saif Ali Khan plays the villain, and I believe it is his best performance ever, but even Ajay Devgan and Kareena Kapoor’s performances are raw and realistic.
Here is a list of other Hindi films that were spun from a paperback and brought to the silver screen:
Parineeta (2005) Directed by Pradeep Sarkar, Parineeta is a film adaptation of the 1914 Bengali novel, Parineeta by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay is a famous author from the early 20th century probably most famous for writing the story of Devdas.
The Blue Umbrella (2007) The Blue Umbrella directed by Vishal Bhardawaj is a children’s film which is based on a short story of the same name by Ruskin Bond. Ruskin Bond is an Indian author who is of British descent. Bhardawaj goes on to make other film adaptations of Bond’s short stories (See 7 Khoon Maaf below)
Saawariya (2007) is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and stars Rani Mukerjee and Ranbir Kapoor. It’s based on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s short Russian story White Nights. Sanjay Leela Bhansali can bring a book to life with his music, costuming, props, set design and extremely poignant attention to detail to the human emotions that sometimes only a book can really capture – it’s really something.
3 Idiots (2009) directed by Rajkumar Hirani, based on a book by Chetan Bhagat titled Five Point Someone. Chetan Bhagat is a very popular novelist in India appealing to the twenty-something generation. Almost all of his novels have been turned into films (though, only a couple have done very well in the box office and are worth mentioning).
7 Khoon Maaf (2011) The film stars Priyanka Chopra in the lead role. She plays a murderous femme fatale who knocks off each of her seven husbands. The film also stars Naseeruddin Shah, Irrfan Khan, Annu Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, John Abraham, Aleksandr Dyachenko, Vivaan Shah and Usha Uthup. Vishal Bhardawaj the director, approached author Ruskin Bond regarding his short story titled Susanna’s Seven Husbands, wanting to turn it into a film. Ruskin Bond adapted the short story into a novel, which gave Vishal Bhardawaj a lot more to work with.
Kai Po Che! (2013) Based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel The 3 Mistakes of My Life, is directed by Abhishek Kapoor. This film stars some no namers (at least they are for now): Sushant Singh Rajput, Raj Kumar Yadav and Amit Sadh star as three best friends who’s bond is unbreakable until Hindu/Muslim politics gets in the way.
There are definitely many many other adaptations of books into Hindi film, I just wanted to share a few that I thought were relevant and interesting. I didn’t even mention films like Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, The Namesake, Mistress of Spices, and Bride and Prejudice. I don’t really consider those films to be true ‘Bollywood’ films, because they have North American appeal and star crossover stars that have made the jump from Bollywood to Hollywood.
What are some of your favorite books into Bollywood films? What is one book that you wished you could see on the big Bollywood screen?