BOLLYWOOD TURNS THE PAGES OF NOVELS
A bunch of films based on literary works shows how a good story is worth retelling on screen
What’s common to Bareilly Ki Barfi, the Alia Bhatt-starrer Raazi, and Akshay Kumar’s upcoming film, Padman? It’s the lit connect.
Bareilly Ki Barfi is inspired by a French novel, Ingredients of Love. Raazi is an adaptation of Harinder S Sikka’s novel, Calling Sehmat. Padman is based on a story from Twinkle Khanna’s book, The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad.
Literature has always been a source of inspiration for films, but of late, there has been a sharp spike in the trend. Is it because adapting a book for the screen is easy? Not quite. “Writers pen a book with lots of explanations. Unlike films, there may not be many plot points or ‘turning points’ in [a book]. When a literary piece is picked up for a film, all the cinematic elements have to be woven in,” says Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, director of Bareilly Ki Barfi.
Nevertheless, books are ruling Bollywood. Author Chetan Bhagat’s Half Girlfriend was the story source for the recent movie release with the same title, starring Shraddha Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor. Then, Deepika Padukone is playing Rahima Khan aka Sapna Didi in Vishal Bhardwaj’s next production venture, based on a chapter from S Hussain Zaidi’s Mafia Queens of Mumbai. Several other filmmakers — Nitesh Tiwari, Sriram Raghavan, Ashutosh Gowariker, and Sajid Khan — are busy with film adaptations of books.
“If people have lapped up a certain piece of literature, and filmmakers can capitalise on it... that particular movie, in all likelihood, will do well at the box office,” says trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
Trade expert Amod Mehra points out, “In today’s times, when there aren’t many writers and good original stories available, filmmakers have no option but to turn towards literature for stories and inspirations.”
ADAPTING BOOKS FOR CINEMA IS NOT EASY, BUT CAN BE A VERY REWARDING VENTURE IF A FILMMAKER KNOWS HOW TO WEAVE IN PLOT TURNS
A story from this book has inspired Akshay Kumar’s film Padman
Above left: Bareilly Ki Barfi; Above: The book on which Alia Bhatt’s film Raazi is based