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10 Bollywood hits inspired by Indian novels

Devdas (2002)

Novel: "Devdas" by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay


Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Devdas" is one of the most iconic adaptations in Bollywood. The novel, written by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1917, tells the tragic love story of Devdas and Paro. Bhansali’s version, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, and Madhuri Dixit, is noted for its opulent sets, grandiose music, and emotionally charged performances, capturing the essence of the original story.


3 Idiots (2009)

Novel: "Five Point Someone" by Chetan Bhagat

3 Idiots (2009)

"3 Idiots," directed by Rajkumar Hirani, is loosely based on Chetan Bhagat's bestselling novel "Five Point Someone." The film, starring Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, and Sharman Joshi, delves into the lives of three engineering students, highlighting the pressures of the Indian educational system. The movie's humor, heart, and insightful social commentary struck a chord with audiences, making it a massive hit.


Maqbool (2003)

Play: "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare


Vishal Bhardwaj’s "Maqbool" is an ingenious adaptation of Shakespeare’s "Macbeth," set in the Mumbai underworld. Starring Irrfan Khan, Tabu, and Pankaj Kapur, the film captures the essence of the original play's themes of ambition, power, and betrayal. Bhardwaj’s adaptation is lauded for its gritty realism and powerful performances.


 Omkara (2006)

Play: "Othello" by William Shakespeare


Continuing his Shakespearean adaptations, Vishal Bhardwaj’s "Omkara" is a reimagining of "Othello." Set in the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh, the film stars Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, and Saif Ali Khan. Bhardwaj skillfully translates the tragedy of jealousy and betrayal into a modern Indian context, creating a gripping and intense narrative.


Raazi (2018)

Novel: "Calling Sehmat" by Harinder Sikka


Directed by Meghna Gulzar, "Raazi" is based on Harinder Sikka’s novel "Calling Sehmat." The film stars Alia Bhatt as Sehmat, an Indian spy married into a Pakistani military family during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. "Raazi" is a gripping espionage thriller that also explores themes of patriotism and personal sacrifice.


Kai Po Che! (2013)

Novel: "The 3 Mistakes of My Life" by Chetan Bhagat

Kai Po Che! (2013)

Abhishek Kapoor’s "Kai Po Che!" is adapted from Chetan Bhagat’s novel "The 3 Mistakes of My Life." The film, starring Sushant Singh Rajput, Rajkummar Rao, and Amit Sadh, follows the lives of three friends as they navigate love, ambition, and the socio-political turmoil in Gujarat. The movie’s realistic portrayal of friendship and ambition earned critical acclaim.


2 States (2014)

Novel: "2 States: The Story of My Marriage" by Chetan Bhagat

2 States

Based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel "2 States: The Story of My Marriage," "2 States" is a romantic drama directed by Abhishek Varman. The film stars Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt as Krish and Ananya, who hail from different cultural backgrounds—Punjabi and Tamil, respectively. Their journey of convincing their parents to accept their intercultural marriage forms the crux of the story. The film beautifully captures the nuances of Indian family dynamics, cultural clashes, and the universal theme of love overcoming obstacles.

Pinjar (2003)

Novel: "Pinjar" by Amrita Pritam


Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s "Pinjar" is an adaptation of Amrita Pritam’s acclaimed novel. Set against the backdrop of the Partition of India, the film stars Urmila Matondkar and Manoj Bajpayee. "Pinjar" poignantly depicts the human cost of the Partition, focusing on themes of identity, trauma, and resilience.


Gangubai Kathiawadi (2022)

Book: "Mafia Queens of Mumbai" by Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges

Gangubai Kathiawadi

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s "Gangubai Kathiawadi" is inspired by a chapter from Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges' book "Mafia Queens of Mumbai." The film stars Alia Bhatt as Gangubai, a young girl who is sold into prostitution and later becomes a powerful figure in the Mumbai underworld. The movie highlights her rise to power and her efforts to fight for the rights of sex workers, portraying her as a symbol of resilience and empowerment.


Bajirao Mastani (2015)

Book: "Rau" by Nagnath S. Inamdar

Bajirao Mastani (2015)

"Bajirao Mastani," directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, is based on the Marathi novel "Rau" by Nagnath S. Inamdar. The film stars Ranveer Singh as Peshwa Bajirao I, Deepika Padukone as Mastani, and Priyanka Chopra as Kashibai. The epic love story between the Maratha general Bajirao and his second wife, Mastani, is set against the backdrop of the 18th-century Maratha Empire. The movie is known for its grand scale, elaborate costumes, and powerful performances, vividly bringing the historical romance to life.

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