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Indian Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based On Books

By Sakshi Nadkarni

Over the years, many books have been adapted into Hollywood movies. In fact, most English  of widely popular novels. Though this wasn’t a practice in Bollywood until relatively recently, you might be surprised at the original books these derivative movies were adapted from. Today. We’ve made a list of Indian movies you didn’t know were based on books.

Lootera (2013)

Indian Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based On Books

This period drama film starring Sonakshi Sinha and Ranveer Singh is an adaptation of O’Henry’s short story ‘The Last Leaf,’ with an Indianized backdrop and some added twists. The short story follows two young roommates in Greenwich village, Sue and Johnsy and takes place in the pneumonia epidemic period. Johnsy has come down with pneumonia and has lost the will to live. She believes that when the last leaf on the ivy vine outside her window falls, she will die too. However, Behrman, an old artist paints the last leaf, his masterpiece. The leaf never falls off the vine, and Johnsy recovers. However Behrman gets pneumonia due to painting at night and dies instead. The film has the same basic plot, but a love angle and a mystery angle has been added.

Saawariya  (2007)

Can you believe that Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor’s debut film is based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s short story, ‘White Nights?’ This short story follows our nameless protagonist, who falls head over hells in love with a woman. However, his love remains unrequited because she loves someone else, and finally unites with him. The film takes this basic plot, and elevates it by adding elements of abandonment by the woman’s mother, prostitution and a tribute to Raj Kapoor.

Kohraa (1964)

Indian Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based On Books

This horror film starring the beautiful actress Waheeda Rehman and the seasoned actor Biswajeet is an adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s classic, Rebecca. The gothic novel follows a young woman as she rashly decides to marry a widower. However, his previous wife, Rebecca haunts this house. The film follows suit, and the couple Rajeshwari and Amit marry. However, when Amit is out on a business trip, Rajeshwari discovers haunted secrets about Amit and his ex-wife, Poonam. Elements of supernatural weren’t included in the original, but enhance the Indianized horror appeal of the film.

Shah Jahan Regency (2019)

Based on the Bengali novel ‘Chowringhree’ by Mani Shankar Mukherjee, this Bengali movie stars a whole host of popular Bengali actors like Babul Supriyo and Rituparna Sengupta. Set in Chowringhree, a neighbourhood in Kolkata in the 1940s, it follows our protagonist Shankar. Recently unemployed, Shankar finds a job in the hotel Shah Jahan Regency through a friend. The novel then follows the guests, managers, employees and even the receptionist of the hotel through the vicissitudes of their lives. It starkly exposes the underside of Bengali elite, and the poverty of the Bengali unemployed.

Aisha (2010)

Indian Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based On Books

Aisha, starring Sonam Kapoor, Abhai Deol and sporting an ensemble cast, is based on jane Austen’s beloved book Emma. Emma follows the titular character, who is rich, young and beautiful but also a little proud. It centres around the rich upper class society and Emma’s matchmaking shenanigans in it. In the end however, Emma herself finds love where she least expected it. Likewise, Aisha follows the life of Aisha, who tries to spike romances among her friends despite the advices of her friend Arjun Burman. Ultimately, she falls in love with Arjun and declares that love is spontaneous and never goes according to plan.

The Blue Umbrella (2005)

The Blue Umbrella is a Bharadwaj film based on Ruskin Bond’s book of the same name. The short story, which appeared in Bond’s short story collection, Children’s Omnibus, is set in a village called Garwhal. It follows a young girl Binya who obtains a blue umbrella in exchange for a leopard paw pendant from a few foreigners. This catches shopkeeper Ram Bharosa’s fancy and he employs various means to get Binya to give it to him. After a series of futile attempts, Ram feels remorseful about the deception and Binya realizes that her possessiveness and pride caused him to suffer. So she decides to willingly give him the blue umbrella, in exchange for a bear claw pendant.

Parineeta (2005)

Indian Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based On Books

This Vidya Balan and Said Ali Khan starrer is an adaption of Bengali veteran novelist Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novella of the same name, meaning “a married woman.” Taking place against the backdrop of the Bengal Renaissance, the novella follows Lalita, a young girl who ends up marrying her neighbour Shekhar. However, due to differences in caste and age, Shekhar shuns her. As years pass, Shekhar believes her to be married to Girin, a man of Lalita’s father’s choosing. However, it is revealed that Girin married Lalita’s cousin when Lalita said that she was already married. Elated, Shekhar and Lalita reunite.

Also Read: Best Books By Indian American Authors You Should Read

Sakshi Nadkarni

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