Booked Blockbusters

Updated: Nov 26, 2010, 12:50 PM IST

Tanu Talwar

There is no invention only innovation in modern times goes the adage, which particularly stands true in context of Bollywood. More often than not, we come across films that are either influenced by western cinema or a direct rip off of a foreign blockbuster. Of course we do add our desi style to it, which usually comprises a series of song sequences. But Hollywood films aren’t the sole source of inspiration.

Books and novels too are fast catching the fancy of our B-town filmmakers. And even though the concept of churning films from classic and commercial bestsellers is as old as stone-age in Hollywood, in India it’s still at a nascent stage but a rage nevertheless. So here’s taking a look at bestsellers that were some turned into blockbusters and some into bloopers.

1. 3 Idiots: Call it inspired or a direct copy, but Rajkumar Hirani’s superhit ‘3 Idoits’ plot came much too close to Chetan Bhagat’s ‘Five Point Someone’. The film shows three underachievers striving hard to meet their parents and society expectations, often breaking under pressures, loudly echoed Bhagat’s storyline. A blockbuster nevertheless, the film was as big a hit as the bestselling novel it was ‘inspired’ from.

2. Devdas: A cult novel by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, ‘Devdas’ might be the only novel to have the largest number of Hindi film interpretations. The classic has time and again evoked the imagination of ace directors, who have turned the novel into a magnum opus treat for cinemagoers. And though the film has had many screen representations, not all have done justice to the literary masterpiece.

3. Aisha: A copy of a classic English novel ‘Emma’, Sonam Kapoor’s designer drama ‘Aisha’ was a disappointing adaptation of the bestselling novel. Making a mockery of Austen’s novel, the film was one big designer parade with Sonam playing the perfect vanity-stricken model. A torture nevertheless, the film made us clench and itch as we saw Austen’s work being ripped apart by a bunch of B-town amateurs.

4. Hello: A page by page copy of Chetan Bhagat’s ‘One night @ the Call Center’, this Sohail Khan starrer was a miserable copy of a novel that was itself an average read. The film with its weak screenplay and below par performances lacked the zest expressed so vividly in the novel.

5. Parineeta: Yet another bestseller by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, ‘Parineeta’ was made into a beautiful film by Pradeep Sarkar with Saif Ali Khan, Vidya Balan and Sanjay Dutt in lead roles. The film stayed true to the novel on every count, be it paying attention to detail or the characters, ‘Parineeta’ was by far one of the best novel based films ever made in Bollywood.

6. Omkara: An adaptation of William Shakespeare ‘Othello’, Omkara is nothing short of a cult film. With noteworthy acts from the entire cast, the film was raved across the globe and had won several awards including the prestigious National Award besides bagging Filmfare and Zee Cine awards.

7. The Namesake: An internationally acclaimed novel by Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri, ‘The Namesake’ was made into wonderful film by Mira Nair. Aptly conveying the confused cross-culture dilemma faced by American born Gogol and Sonia as they try to keep up with their Bengali roots, the film stayed true to the book till the end.

8. Guzaarish: Though Sanjay Leela Bhansali remained mum on allegations of his hit ‘Guzaarish’ being a rip off from Dayanand Raajan’s ‘Summer Snow’, sources confirm strong similarities between the film and the novel. However being a Bhansali film, we are sure Raajan couldn’t have asked for a better filmmaker to adapt his masterpiece.

9. Japanese Wife: A film by Aparna Sen based on the bestselling novel by Kunal Basu, ‘Japanese Wife’ had Rahul Bose, Raima Sen and Japanese actress Chigusa Takalu in lead roles. Though the film failed to garner commercial success, it did bag critical acclaim.

10. Bride and Prejudice: Gurinder Chadha’s Punjabi adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Bride and Prejudice’ was a complete desi twist to the literary masterpiece. Set in Amritsar, the film follows the complicated and ego-stricken affair between Lalita Bakshi and William Darcy. The film did have certain over the top sequences that were bashed by the book lovers, but overall was a complete entertainer.