Literature and art are often transformed and translated from one form to another. Artists usually take inspiration from art by other people and conduct their own interpretation of it. There are several such movies that are directly adapted from books, and there are some that are interpreted and retold in different settings. Here are 7 Bollywood movies that are retellings of popular literature.
7 Bollywood Movies that are Retellings of Famous Literature
Aisha is a 2010 movie starring Sonam Kapoor and Abhay Deol in the lead roles. Rajashree Ojha directed it. The movie is a retelling of the classic novel Emma by Jane Austen. Similar to the book, the movie is also named after the lead female character. The plot is about an upper-class woman in her early twenties, who tries to look out for a partner for the daughter of a distant relative. The movie Aisha translates the book into a setting in Delhi, where Aisha is keen on matchmaking her friends with people that she thinks are ideal for them, and in the process, loses their trust and friendship.
Maqbool is a 2003 movie directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. It is the first movie in the Shakespeare trilogy by him. Maqbool is a retelling of Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth and stars Irrfan, Tabu, Nasurredin Shah, Pankaj Kapoor, Om Puri, etc. in it. The play is about a Scottish general who receives a prophecy from some witches that he would be taking up the throne of Scotland next. Filled with ambition and greed, Macbeth kills the King of Scotland to take up his position as the king but is later filled with guilt and regret. The movie Maqbool is set in the underworld scene of Mumbai, where Maqbool, tries to take up the place of the leading Don. The play and the movie both showcase the feelings of guilt, power, and greed very well.
Omkara is a 2006 Bollywood film starring Ajay Devgan as the titular character and Kareena Kapoor Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Konkana Sen, Vivek Oberoi, and Bipasha Basu as the other characters. It is directed and co-written by Vishal Bhardwaj. This movie is an adaptation of the play Othello by Shakespeare. Othello is about a man from a lower class marrying a woman from an upper-class background against the wishes of her own father. In Omkara, the overall dynamics remain the same, but it explores the caste system of India. The movie has won several awards including 3 National Film Awards and 9 Filmfare Awards.
Haider is the final movie in the Shakespeare trilogy by Vishal Bhardwaj. It was released in the year 2014 and is a retelling of the play Hamlet by Shakespeare. The movie stars Shahid Kapoor in the leading role of Hamlet and the other characters are played by Tabu, Irrfan, Kay Kay Menon, and Shraddha Kapoor. The movie also takes inspiration from the book Curfewed Nights by Basharat Peer. The play is about Hamlet, who attempts to get revenge against his uncle, who killed Hamlet’s father to get on the throne and marry Hamlet’s mother. The movie is set in Kashmir during the peak political conflict when Haider visits the state to resolve the mystery of the disappearance of his father.
Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ramleela
Ramleela is a 2013 romantic tragedy film directed and written by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. It has Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in the lead starring as the characters Ram and Leela, and Richa Chadda, Supriya Pathak, etc. as supporting characters. It is a retelling of the popular play by Shakespeare, Romeo, and Juliet. The play is about two lovers who belong to feuding families, and are kept away from getting married for the same reason. The movie is on the same topic, where Ram and Leela come from two rival families from a small village in Gujarat. It is filled with bloodshed and loss on both sides and explores the feelings of hatred and love together.
Lootera is a 2013 Bollywood film directed by Vikramaditya Motwane. It stars Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha in the leading roles and is based on O Henry’s short story, The Last Leaf. The short story is about two friends, Sue and Johnsy. Johnsy falls ill and Sue is seen taking care of her like her own family. Johnsy is adamant about her life ending as soon as the last leaf from a tree opposite their house falls. However, their neighbor, Mr. Berhrman paints his ‘masterpiece’ of the leaf. Lootera changes the dynamics in the main characters, while Sonakshi Sinha’s character is mainly based on Johnsy, Ranveer Singh’s character is based on both, Sue and Johnsy.
Saawariya is a 2007 Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial which is based on the short story White Nights by Fyodor Dostoevsky. The movie was also the debut film of the lead stars, Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor. The short story by Dostoevsky is divided into six parts. It is about the narrator, who suffers from loneliness. He finds a companion in a lady, but however, his love is unrequited and does not end for either of the characters. In the movie, Ranbir Kapoor plays the role of the narrator, and Sonam Kapoor plays the role of the prostitute, with whom he falls in love.