Both movies and books have been two of the most popular forms of entertainment. Book-to-film adaptations can be tricky. But when they’re done well, they are an absolute delight for the book lover.
From Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman’s classic Guide (inspired from R.K Narayan’s famous novel The Guide) to Alia Bhatt’s upcoming spy thriller Raazi (based on the novel Calling Sehmat by ex-naval officer, Harinder Sikka), there have been numerous books that have been adapted into movies.
As we celebrate World Book Day today, let’s take a look at 12 books that left us awestruck with their exceptional screen adaptations:
Great Expectations (1946)
There have been numerous adaptations of Dickens’ novels, but this remains the benchmark. The screen adaptation of the famous book by the same name, Great Expectations (1946) is a cult classic. The story revolves around Pip, who sets out to live the life of a young gentleman after an anonymous patron provides him with an income. Soon after, his life changes after some surprising revelations. From the unforgettable opening scenes on the marshes to a stellar star cast comprising names like Alec Guinness, John Mills, Jean Simmons and Martita Hunt’s haunting Miss Havisham, this one is a masterpiece. Every frame does complete justice to the book and its characters. The movie won two Academy Awards- Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography.
Gone With The Wind (1939)
When it comes to listing down the greatest screen adaptations, we can’t do justice without mentioning the epic historical romance film, Gone With The Wind. Adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel of the same name, the film is a dramatic retelling of the events preceding, during and following the American Civil War. Featuring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland and Leslie Howard, this movie remains one of the most celebrated movies ever. If you haven’t watched it, go watch it now!
Gone Girl (2014)
Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl was undoubtedly one of the most talked-about novels in recent years. When this New York Times bestseller was adapted into a movie, the box office was hit by a storm. Director David Fincher made sure that the essence and thrill of the book remains intact while helming its screen adaptation. The story revolved around Nick Dunne whose wife goes missing on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary. The brilliantly layered narrative experience and the gripping plot made this one of the finest thrillers of its time. This one remains an intelligent screen adaptation where the director does complete justice to Gillian Flynn’s global bestseller.
Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera, starring Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha was partly based on O. Henry’s short story, The Last Leaf. While Pakhi Roy Chaudhary was a character developed on the lines of the story itself, Motwane along with scriptwriter Bhavani Iyer created the character of the conman, Nandu. The movie showcased a completely different side of Ranveer Singh.
7 Khoon Maaf
One of the finest screen adaptations ever made in Bollywood is Vishal Bharadwaj’s 7 Khoon Maaf. The movie traced the story of Susanna who is hungry for love and will go to any extent to find it in its purest form. In her quest for the perfect man, she gets married a number of times as each of her husbands die mysteriously. An interesting fact about the movie is that Vishal Bhardwaj had requested Ruskin Bond to elaborate his 4-page story of Susanna’s Seven Husbands. The short story was later converted into an 80-page novella that was adapted into a film eventually!
When it comes to adapting the most spectacular books into an even better version on screen, the first name that comes in mind is Vishal Bharadwaj. We all remember the iconic characters of Langda Tyagi and Kesu Firangi from the 2006 movie, Omkara. Nobody could have imagined the way Bharadwaj brought to life the most brilliant characters ever written. Adapted from Shakespeare’s Othello which was written in the 17 th Century, Omkara is going to be remembered for years to come. Adapting the stories weaved by a genius like Shakespeare demands a lot of courage, passion and conviction. Nobody but Vishal Bharadwaj could have made this happen. When you see Omkara, you only wonder how can a movie so authentically do justice to two of the greatest arts- literature and cinema.
3 Idiots (2012)
2009 will be remembered as the golden year of Indian cinema because of the millennium blockbuster- 3 Idiots. This coming-of-age comedy-drama film, directed and written by Rajkumar Hirani was the adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s best selling novel Five Point Someone. Starring Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi and Kareena Kapoor Khan, the movie traces the journey of two friends searching for their long lost companion. With a little changes here and there in the narrative, 3 Idiots is surely one of those few screen adaptations which have surpassed the excellence of their book versions. The movie will remain etched in the memory of film lovers in India. There is no chance that you haven’t watched this one.
Filled with bloodshed and deceit, the interpretation of a dark tragedy like Macbeth into a Mumbai Gangster story was perhaps as gripping as the play was. With Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Piyush Mishra and Pankaj Kapoor in lead roles, Maqbool is one of the best on-screen adaptation of the Shakespeare play to date.
Director: Rajshree Ojha
The stories of Jane Austen are always considered to be the most endearing ones- in terms of characterization, narrative and the climax. Rajshree Ojha’s Aisha deserves a special mention in the list for the sheer delight that it adds to the brilliantly written Emma. It beautifully showcases the story of Aisha, who loves playing matchmaker, finds a new target in the simple Shefali. But in the process, she ends up ruining her relationship with close friends. The movie will take you on a fairy tale ride that will warm your heart. Add this to your watch list, if you haven’t watched it yet.
Inspired from the real life events, the film is an adaptation of Harinder Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat. It is a story about a Kashmiri spy married to a Pakistani man during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. Judging from the trailer, the film promises to be a nail-biting spy thriller. Alia Bhatt captures the attention from the first frame itself. We just can’t wait to find out what this movie has in store for us.
The Accidental Prime Minister
The Accidental Prime Minister is the biographical political drama film directed by Vijay Ratnakar Gutte and written by Hansal Mehta. It is based on the 2014 memoir of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s life by Indian policy analyst Sanjaya Baru. The movie will feature the very talented veteran actor Anupam Kher in titular role.
Joining the list will be Sonam Kapoor’s Zoya Factor which is based on a novel by the same name written by Anuja Chauhan. The film will revolve around cricket woven into a rom-com that touches upon superstition and luck. Sonam Kapoor will be paired up with Dulquer Salmaan. We can’t wait to see this mint fresh pairing in this beautiful story that is all set to give a delightful twist to the book version.