The 12 Best Literary Adaptations In Bollywood


Some extra intellectual movie buffs (including Desi, N.R.I and the Others) point out that there is dearth of good work in Bollywood and  it is all about gimmicks, useless songs and dance sequences. Also they are unable to adapt any kind of literary texts  successfully into the silver screen etc . So for them and the rest (the lovers) please take a look.

1.1947 Earth

Deepa Mehta’s movie based on Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice Candy Man, the movie deserves applause for its screenplay, the acting department,and the songs. Aamir Khan plays the antagonist andyou cannot restrain yourself from applauding this genius when he expresses his sexual jealousy. The display of intrigue and the pain of partition creates a tragic tale in celluloid…

check out for the Gulshan Grover’s dialogue-” Happy Independence”.


The finest Bollywood movie ever, be it an adapted screenplay or an orginal screenplay, everything in this movie is perfect,the screenplay,the dialogue delivery, the songs, the evergreen Dev Anand,and the enchanting Rosie aka Waheeda Rahman. The English version is so dull,that you keep falling in love with the hindi one even more, as usual it takes some cinematic liberty and do justice for every scenes.Watch out for the duel of conscience scene between the two Dev Anand.Censor board tried to object because it showcased a married woman having an affair in India of 1960. Much ahead of its time,and the best work of Dev Anand.


3. Omkara
Vishal Bharadwaj who was an English teacher successfully transforms his love for English literature into Bollywood films. You can choose MaqboolSaat Khoon Maaf but Omkara- it is his bloody best.The lovely Dolly Mishra(you will fall in love with this Desdemona), the playboy Keshu (dashing Vivek Obreoi) and Emilie played by Konkona Sen Sharma gets a thumbs up.Sadly my favourite Devgan does not live up to the expectations,the clap-the anger-the sympthay-the award goes to SAIF ALI KHAN..oh man take a bow for your portrayal of Langda Tyagi..but wait Iago in OTHELLO winks at the audience,but Tyagi doesn’t.


4 Train to Pakistan
Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan is possibly more horrific than Heart Of Darkness but equally brilliant like any of the tragic novels of canonical literature.The movie houses dashing performances from all of the cast,especially the antagonist. Mano Majra is a village caught in the web of partition,which experiences the horror of Partition,the bloody war and waits for the Ghost train to misses any kind of star presence.May be that why it was a box office dud.

This Amrita Pritam’s novel which i have read in translation, is a sheer piece of beauty.The adaptation by Dwivedi is a succesful venture but it lacks cinematic tension a bit during the climax. Urmila Matondkar should have recieved an award for her powerful performance,so does Manoj Bajpayee. Do catch this period flick.

6.Shatranj Ke Khildai
I think the only hindi film of Ray,and as usual it it is powerpacked cinema ,based on Munshi Premchand’s work,the movie traces the king Of Oudh who is passionate about Chess and it is set against the backdrop of the Sepoy mutiny of 1857.A baritone narration of Bachchan,the grand Richard Attenborough  , the eccentric Amjad Khan and evergreen Victor Banrjee,winner of National Awards and many might not enjoy if you don’t like serious cinema..

7 Rajneeti
The adaptation of the epic The MAHABHARAT, thumbs up for the following things….the metaphorical screenplay,the authorbacked performance of Ajay Devgan as Karna,the witty Nana Patekar as Krishna..the sensuous Katrina as Draupadi, the foccused Godfather styled Arjun p[layed by Ranbir and lastly the eccentric evil brilliantly performed by Manoj Bajpayee.Watch out for the perfect Hindi diction in this epic political saga.

8 Umrao Jaan
No not the J.P Dutta’s recent Umrao Jaan, I am talking about Ali’s Umrao Jaan starring Rekha as the nautch girl and Farookh Sheikh as the Nawab. The movie is a poetry in motion ,which adapts the Urdu work ‘Umrao Jaan Ada‘(my friend read it for me,oh i caanot read URDU,the most perfect language for poetry)with sheer brilliance.Asha Bhosle’s voice,the enigmatic performance and the tragic climax,it makes you weep at the fate of Umrao Jaan.Ah man.. :-(..and noted info all the jewellery of Rekha were real and belonged to the ancestors of Muzaffar Ali,the man behind the movie.

The childhood delight for us from the greatest man of lietarature evcer,yep the great RABINDRANATH THAKUR(I don’t prefer Tagore,originality at its best).Though a remake of a bengali movie by Tapan Sinha,this hindi film capture my heart for Balraj Sahani’s tearjerking performance. My best moment is when the lead actor remembers his nation through Manna Dey’s ultimate patriotic punch “Aye Mere Pyare Watan“..i get goosebumps.

10 Ishaqzaade
Be it Bansaali’s RamLeela or Aamir Khan’s Qayamat se Qayamat Tak or the recent Issaq,all of which are adaptation of Romeo and Juliet,Ishaqzaade stands out for Habib Faisal’s screenplay,the powerful Parineeta Chopra(she got an national award for this) and the crime infested background.Oho don’t miss the climax and Pareshaan song…look out for the evil plotting.

Vidu Vinod Chopra’s production delivers a classy product and it does justice to the Sarat Chandra Chattopadhay’s Classic novel.The lead cast is brilliant and its production designing is sexy actually.Have you ever thought if you use the music of Rabindranath Thakur(Rabindra sangeet) in an adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s classic,welShantanu Moitra does it,and it is wonderful.220px-Parineetaposter

12.2 States
Well,some people might not consider this one as standardised lietarary adaptation as it is based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel.I give a damm,the novel is brilliantly narrated,and portrays the dichotomy,the clash between Tamilian and Punjabi,the movie is as good as the book,and Alia ..too good girl..but the movie deserves high five for alcoholic Ronit Roy and sweet Revathy…Arjun kapoor and Amrita…good job..







All the images have been taken from Internet

Some honourable mentions . This post was composed three years ago , so Haider didn’t make it to the list.



7 thoughts on “The 12 Best Literary Adaptations In Bollywood

  1. Hey Great piece .. I never knew Shatranj had an English poster too… All the movies you have mentioned are off beat movies.. but have left an impact on the audience. Persoanlly I feel that when a book is adapted they are never given their full glory in a movie. Take Rick Riordon’s Lightening Thief for eg. The movie did not do justice to the book. Lovely piece 🙂


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