`Treat Shakespeare`s dramas and film adaptations distinctly`

Kolkata: With scores of films across the world adapted from William Shakespeare`s immortal works and viewers subjecting them to scrutiny, eminent theatre critic Anand Lal says audiences should treat films and the written word distinctly.

Popular dramas by the English bard, like `Romeo and Juliet`, `Othello`, `Macbeth` and others, have been the subject of movie scripts time and again. For example, "Othello" found its celluloid interpretation in Bollywood with the film `Omkara`. In doing so, sometimes film makers face immense criticism for seemingly failing to do justice to the masterpieces.

"People forget that this is a different form. One can say that this is a good film or a bad film; you have to take it as a film not literature," said Lal, also a screenwriter, during an event at the Oxford Bookstore here recently.

"You have to give freedom to the director to interpret Shakespeare in his own way. Do not expect to get the book on screen," he said.

When asked about the interest of today`s youth in Shakespeare, Lal said it is difficult to keep up with Shakespeare`s body of work - given the complexities of the language - after school or university.

"My students have to study Shakespeare. Obviously if something is there in the course you have to study it. Why would an ordinary youngster read Shakespeare? The language is completely different. For that matter, is Mahabharata (Indian epic) read by them," wondered Lal.

"Shakespeare`s mastery over words makes him immortal," he said.

"Shakespeare changed the English language. He used words so creatively. Every great writer has played around with words," Lal added.

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