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Literary Cinema

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Courtesy: IndiaFM
Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Since times immemorial, Bollywood has been infamous for its dearth of original ideas! Ideas have been borrowed from Hollywood, Bollywood as well as from books! But in recent times, it has been refreshing to see that film makers have acknowledged the credits of authors when their film has been adapted.

This trend was always popular in Hollywood with a number of adaptations, the latest ones being The Jungle Book, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and most recently The Chronicles of Narnia. And all of them were blockbusters. The Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings mania is far from over.

Back home too, things are no different. One of the most popular films in the recent times was Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas, an adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel of the same name. And while on the subject of Devdas, the story has been immortalized on screen before as well, by P.C.Barua and Bimal Roy in 1935 and 1955, respectively.

Aishwarya Rai has been a part of many a book adaptations. The actress has been lucky enough to have a number of author backed roles in her career so far. Post Devdas, she was seen in Gurinder Chadha's Bride and Prejudice in 2004. It was an adaptation of one of Jane Austen's most popular novels, Pride and Prejudice. Then came Chokher Bali in 2003 which was based on Rabindranath Tagore's 1902 novel of the same name. These movies also marked Rai's entry into the 'serious actress' category. In the upcoming months she will also be seen in The Mistress of Spices, based on Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's novel. It is directed by, Paul Mayeda Berges, who is Gurider Chadha's husband. The movie is the story of Tilo, played by Rai, who is a member of an old, mystical cult that worships spice in all its forms.

Two of 2005's biggest films were also based on novels. The Shah Rukh - Rani Mukherjee starrer Paheli was an interpretation of Vijaydan Detha's Rajasthani novel Duvidha. It told the story of a girl who falls in love with a ghost. The film had more than its fair share of publicity since it was India's official entry to the Oscars. The fact that it wasn't nominated is a different matter altogether! Interestingly Paheli was not the first adaptation of Duvidha. Filmmaker Mani Kaul had made an offbeat film on Detha's novel way back in 1973. The other film was Pradeep Sarkar's Parineeta, an adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel. The film won the hearts of critics and the audience alike. It also made the lead actress Vidya Balan a star, overnight.

The trend will continue in 2006 also. A lot movies, based on books are in the making. Vishal Bharadwaj is in the process of making Omkara, a desi version of Shakespeare's Othello. The film stars Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Incidentally, he had also made Maqbool in 2004, inspired by Shakespeare's Macbeth. His fixation with Shakespeare has won him a lot of accolades. Apart from Omkara, he recently completed Chatri Chor, an adaptation of Ruskin Bond's The Blue Umbrella. Slated for a 2006 release, it has Pankaj Kapoor and Shreya Sharma in the leads.

After Devdas and Parineeta, another one of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's works will be immortalized on celluloid. The movie in question being Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam, which will see Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra in lead roles. When it was adapted for the first time way back in 1962, Guru Dutt and Meena Kumari's performance had gone down in history as a classic.

Mira Nair is in the process of making The Namesake, based on a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri and Sooni Taraporewala. It stars Tabu and Irfan Khan in lead roles.

Rohan Sippy has bought the rights of Chetan Bhagat's One Night at the Call Centre. Some other adaptations include Bhagat's other novel Five Point Someone and Prem Chand's Kafan. Directed by Rishi Jena, Kafan stars Rajpal Yadav and Nethra Raghuraman.

2006 promises to be an eventful year. A handful of literary works are all set to be translated on celluloid. A treat for book and movie lovers alike! 

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