From novels to the big screen

More and more filmmakers are opting for bestsellers rather than conventional movie scripts

Bollywood, over the years, has drawn heavily from literature. Filmmakers are looking at a slew of award winning books that not only have a huge fan base of their own, but also helps build the curiosity factor around a film.

Makers of adaptations

The veteran filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj is particularly fond of adapting literary works into his movies.

His Blue Umbrella was an adaptation of Ruskin Bond's novel by the same title. His movies, Maqbool and Omkara were adapted from Shakespeare's Macbeth and Othello.

His last, Saat Khoon Maaf was based on Bond's short story, Susanna's Seven Husbands. Directors like Govind Nihlani, Shyam Benegal, Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta and Anurag Kashyap have quite often adapted novels.

Shakespeare has been the biggest muse to Bollywood filmmakers and among the Indian authors, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and Premchand have been the favourites.
More than 15 Chattopadhyay novels have been adapted into films, out of which Devdas and Pareenita remain popular. Bollywood filmmakers PC Barua, Bimal Roy, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Anurag Kashyap have made film versions of the novella.

Current flavour
Chetan Bhagat seems to be the current favourite of Bollywood. With two of his books already made into films (including 3 Idiots), two more are on the anvil.

Some films in the making that have been adapted from books are...
Z inspired Shanghai
Dibaker Bannerjee's upcoming political thriller Shanghai starring Emraan Hashmi, Abhay Deol and Kalki Koelchin is based on the Greek author Vassilis Vassilikos book Z.

Two States: The Story Of My Marriage
Producer Sajid Nadiadwala has bought the rights of the novel. Earlier Siddharth Anand was going to make it with Saif Ali Khan. Later Vishal Bhardwaj came on board with Shah Rukh Khan in the lead. The latest news is that Ranbir Kapoor will play the protagonist but whether Imtiaz Ali or Sidharth Anand will direct the film is not clear.

Bombay Velvet
Anurag Kashyap's ambitious project Bombay Velvet that he was going to make with Danny Boyle has been in limbo for more than two years. The film is loosely based on Gyan Prakash's Mumbai Fables. He was initially planning to make this with Shah Rukh and Aamir Khan but later the director denied the news. 

Immortals Of Meluha

Karan Johar has landed the movie rights of this debut book by the bestselling author Amish.

Mafia Queens of Mumbai
Vishal Bhardwaj is going to adapt a story from the Mumbai-based crime reporter S Hussain Zaidi's (of Black Friday fame) book, Mafia Queens of Mumbai.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Mira Nair's next The Reluctant Fundamentalist is based on Mohsin Hamid's international bestseller. The film will star Kate Hudson. Her last film Namesake was adapted from Jhumpa Lahiri's famous novel with the same title.

Midnight's Children
Deepa Mehta's film is an adaptation of Salman Rushdie's Booker Prize winning novel Midnight's Children. The film will be a multi-starrer.

Shootout At Wadala
Sanjay Gupta's next is apparently based on S Hussain Zaidi's Dongri to Dubai.

Adapted by Hollywood
2012 will see these international films adapted from books:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by David Fincher stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. It hinges on Stieg Larsson's crime novel and releases this week.

The much-anticipated The Descendants starring George Clooney is based on Kaui Hart Hemmings' work with the same title.

Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close with a 9/11 background has Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in its big screen adaptation.

Colin Farrell-Keira Knightley starrer film noir London Boulevard builds on Ken Bruen's gangster novel.

Hugo marks Martin Scorsese's debut in 3D.

Yann Martel's bestseller Life of Pi has been adapted into a movie by Ang Lee.

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