Bollywood movie adaptations with Books

Bollywood movie adaptations with Books

Khushbu Contractor30 Apr 2011

With Raj Kumar Hirani's 3 Idiots, an adaptation of Chetan Bhagat's 5 Point Someone hitting the screens, Bollywood has opened it's arms to stories by new-gen Indian authors. Lets take a walk down memory lane with the films that owe their success to the bestsellers they've been based on.

Guide, Maqbool, Angoor, Slumdog Millionaire, 3 Idiots, Parineeta, The Namesake, Dev DSome famous Hindi movies based of Books are: Guide, Maqbool, Angoor, Slumdog Millionaire, 3 Idiots, Parineeta, The Namesake, Dev D etc

When Aamir Khan & Vidhu Vinod Chopra made 3 Idiots, based on Chetan Bhagat′s bestseller '5 point someone', a trend was firmly planted on Bollywood soil - the film adaptations from novels / stories. There have been a lot of Hollywood films based on bestselling novels but this trend is not so common in Bollywood...or so we think! Over the years silently ingrained with our commercial successes have been films that were based on novels and short stories, some official adaptations others “inspirations!” As they say, never judge a book by it′s movie! So lets take a trip down Bollywood history to find some terrific books that served as plots for some super hit films.

Taking a trip back in time Bollywood begins with some famous stories that were adapted into films. In fact the very first film ever made in India was a silent film called Raja Harishchandra in 1913! Needless to say that this first full-length Indian feature film was adapted from the legend of Raja Harishchandra recounted in Ramayana and Mahabharata.

From historical legends to works of fiction our film makers moved fast in search of better stories and if I had to name one Indian author who′s had most of his stories adapted into films, I′d have to say Bengali novelist Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. He′s had over 5 of his stories made into films off which Parineeta and Devdas have had numerous adaptations. When we talk about films based on books Devdas is one of the first that comes to out mind. Did you know this film has had around ten adaptations! Five in Hindi, three in bengali, one in Tamil and Telugu and one in Assamese! Its latest adaptation was Anurag Basu′s Dev D which took the story of Devdas on a whole new level... a creatively original adaptation. Parineeta on the other hand has had around five adaptations of which we′re aware of the 2005 Pradeep Sarkar′s Parineeta starring Sanjay Dutt, Vidya Balan and Saif Ali Khan.

Talking about multiple adaptations, it′s not only legendary Indian authors that inspire us, but also the father of English literature himself, William Shakespeare who′s infamous plays have been generously adapted over the years in Bollywood. A Comedy of Errors, one of Shakespeare′s earlier plays written way back in 1592-94 was adapted into two Hindi films and one Kannada film (called Ulta Palta). Starting with the Kishore Kumar starrer Do Duni Chaar in 1968 and then there was Angoor in 1982 starring Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma. Although these films were successful but no one publicized their Shakespearean adaptations till Vishal Bharadwaj came along. In 2004 Vishal Bharadwaj gave us Maqbool which was Shakespeare′s Macbeth with a desi tadka. Restructuring the story around the underworld and its many deceits, Maqbool climbed quickly in popularity critically and it earned Pankaj Kapoor the coveted National Award for best supporting actor.

One Shakespearean adaptation wasn′t enough for Mr. Bharadwaj and two years later in 2006 he adapted the story of Othello in Omkara. This time both the box office and the critics spoke in the film′s favour as it became one of the highest grossing films of 2006 with a super hit story and a super hit soundtrack!

After Maqbool and Omkara, Bharadwaj became known for his unique adaptations and though this year′s super hit Kaminey was an original but 2007′s The Blue Umbrella was another adaptation by Vishal Bharadwaj which was based on a short story of the same name by Ruskin Bond.

Adaptation, they say, is not everyone′s pen to write because another short story which was adapted very recently into a film turned  out to be a fiasco! Sanjay Leela Bhansali may have had success with Sarat Chandra′s Devdas but he bungled up big time when he adapted Fyodor Dostoevsky′s White Nights. It was more like blue nights when he made it into Saawariya! The most talked about failure after RGV′s Aag Saawariya was a launch vehicle for Ranbir and Sonam Kapoor, though the film was a disaster at the box office but these starlets have found a firm footing in Bollywood today.

Coming back to Indian writers recently we′ve seen a lot of famous films that have been penned by Indians and these have not always been Bollywood films. The Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire is based on Vikas Swarup′s Q and A. Simon Beufoy has changed the story to a huge extent to make Slumdog Millionaire′s Oscar winning screenplay but the whole concept of the film was taken from Q and A.

Another American Indian author Jhumpa Lahiri had her first novel, The Namesake adapted into a Hollywood film of the same name. Directed by Mira Nair, The Namesake starred a mix of Bollywood and Hollywood actors Irrfan Khan, Tabu and Kal Penn.

Over the last couple of years films like Parineeta, Slumdog Millionaire, Devdas, Dev D, Omkara, Anamika (based on Rebecca), and Hello have had known stories and authors backing them. Hello became the first adaptation of a Chetan Bhagat novel. At just 35 Chetan Bhagat is the author of 3 bestselling novels 5 Point Someone, 1 Night @ the Call Centre and 3 Mistakes of My Life. In 2008, 1 Night @ the Call Centre was adapted into a Bollywood film called Hello! starring Sohail Khan and guest starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. Though Hello! was hugely unsuccessful at the box office, Chetan′s second adapted story 5 Point Someone has created huge waves already! With Rajkumar Hirani as the director, Vidhu Vinod Chopra as the producer and a big starcast of Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Madhavan and Sharman Joshi, 3 Idiots seems all set to get the audiences rocking.   5 Point Someone was Chetan Bhagat′s first novel and it went on to become an international bestseller. A story about three friends in IIT who are unable to cope. The book even starts with a disclaimer, “This is not a book to teach you how to get into IIT or even how to live in college. In fact, it describes how screwed up things can get if you don′t think straight.” Hilarious, original and gripping 5 Point Someone was a delight to read. I can′t wait to see how well (or worse) the story′s been adapted into 3 Idiots. After all ... a few wise men did say once… never judge a book by its movie!

Now that weve discussed a bit about film adaptations of novels / books, may be it will be good to have a list of some popular Hindi films that have been adapted from books.

  • Dev Anand starrer Guide - Adapted from R K Narayanan′s novel of the same name.
  • Dev Anand′s Tere Mere Sapne - “Inspired” by A J Cronin′s The Citadel.
  • Pinjar (2003) - Adapted from Amrita Pritam′s novel of the same name.
  • Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977) - Adapted from Munshi Premchand′s story of the same name.
  • Kohra - “inspired” by Daphne Du Maurier′s Rebecca.
  • Man Pasand - “inspired” by George Bernadshaw′s Pygmalion.
  • Dharmatma - “inspired” by Mario Puzo′s Godfather.

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excellent article.
Posted by Making things happen :) on  Dec 30 2009 11:44AM
Nice article. Sets the mind ticking. I have a few more to add to the list:

'Dil Diya Dard Liya' (the old Waheeda, Dilip Kumar starrer was based on the classic by Emily Bronte 'Wuthering Heights'

Bride and Prejudice loosely based on Pride and Prejudice by Austen,

'Masoom' based on 'Man Woman & Child' by Erich Segal

'Kalyug' inspired by the Mahabharat

among others!
Posted by Paromeeta on  Dec 30 2009 2:14PM
thank you
@ Paromeeta... ya there are many more keep digging you'll find that the list is quite long!
Posted by Khushbu on  Jan 2 2010 1:26AM
Even Atithi tum kab jaaoge is an adaption from a story 'Tum Kab jaaoge atithi'
Posted by Vinayak on  Jan 14 2010 4:48PM

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