The Adaptations Which Were Made To Mess With Our Head Entirely
Literary adaptations are nothing new in Bollywood. The trend is probably as old as Bollywood itself and the legacy is kept alive by the likes of Chetan Bhagat. While everytime you read a Chetan Bhagat book you can guarantee that you will see a screen adaptation of it soon. But, there are some Bollywood movies you had no clue were actually literary adaptations.
Kanwarlal (Rage of Angels)
This 1988 release was based on Sidney Sheldon’s bestseller ‘Rage of Angels‘. The movie was directed by S.S. Ravichandran and had biggies like Jeetendra and Raj Babbar in major roles. An action-packed film, you have to watch the movie to believe the absurdity of it. One of the songs has Jeetendra wearing a dupatta with a blue suit and asking existential questions like who is the god here and who is the ‘shaitaan’. Seriously, not kidding.
Oh Bewafaa (Other Side of Midnight)
Forget literary adaptations, if you at all knew the existence of this film then you should just sit down and evaluate what you are doing with your life. Starring stars like Rajendra Kumar, Yogeeta Bali, and Anil Dhawan, this elaborate revenge saga is another instance where Bollywood murdered a gripping bestseller by Sidney Sheldon. Honestly, this is probably the most the film has been written about or remembered.
1947 Earth (Ice-Candy Man)
Taking a complete turn around from the first two entries, this is one of those hidden gems that many have forgotten amidst mindless hits that the industry churns out every week. Starring Aamir Khan, Nandita Das and Rahul Khanna delivering brilliant performances (as always), this film is based on Pakistani author Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel Ice-Candy Man. It is one of those very few instances where it is difficult to choose the winner between the film and the book. I say both are equally amazing and deserve your appreciation.
Superstar (The Prince and The Pauper)
Those of you have read this Mark Twain’s classic know what a fascinating read it is. And those of you have seen the Kunal Khemu starrer Superstar (the list includes me) I just have one question. Why? The movie is so bland that it is difficult to write anything for or against it. I will just settle with a small ‘Meh’!
Now, many of you might know that the Ashutosh Rana, Akshay Kumar, and Preity Zinta starrer is based on Jonathan Demme’s ‘Silence of the Lambs’. But what many of you don’t know is that the movie ‘Silence of the Lambs’ itself is loosely based on Thoma Harris’ bestseller ‘Hannibal‘. Though the cast of the movie has declined the connection between the book and the movie, the similarities are pretty evident. Coming to its Bollywood counterpart, although an uninspired copy, Sangharsh is memorable due the spine-chilling scene where Ashutosh Rana scares the you-know-what out of you. You know which scene I am talking about.
To begin with, the film had Dino Morea, Minissha Lamba and Koena Mitra in major roles. Based on Daphne du Maurier’s classic thriller Rebecca, this movie is basically an unintentional spoof of the book and something every thriller movie should aspire not to be. The treatment is shoddy, the thrill is lacklustre and the performances are just tragic. But then what can you expect from a film with that ensemble cast. Dear Anant Mahadevan, you are better than this.
Saawariya (White Nights)
While the merits of the film are subjected to debate, one can certainly agree that it was one of the most talked about film of the year. But very few people would know the launch pad of Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, was actually loosely based on a Russian short story ‘White Nights, written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. However, we will always remember the film for Ranbir, his charm and of course the much talked about towel. Wink wink.
Every time you think you know Bollywood, question yourself and dig deeper. And you will find that you are not even close to the tip of the iceberg, because Bollywood is unparalleled when it comes to surprising you. Pleasantly and otherwise.