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Instead of remaking films, why can’t Bollywood filmmakers adapt more novels?


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Every now and then our Bollywood filmmakers are caught up following some or the other trends. Making biopics, remaking South Indian films or being inspired from Hollywood flicks are a few of these trends that our filmmakers love to follow time and again.

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Recently we saw the iconic Marathi film, ‘Sairat’ being remade in Hindi as ‘Dhadak‘. The Karan Johar production marked the Bollywood debut of Janhvi Kapoor. Though the film is doing well at the box-office, however, its makers are being accused of deviating from the main theme of the original film i.e criticizing the prevalent caste system of the society.

Now firstly, I am not saying that we should not be making remakes; in fact, this is a very good way of taking a regional film’s story to a larger audience by making it in Hindi. And in the past too, we have had some wonderful remakes like ‘Saathiya’, ‘Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein‘, ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’ and ‘Ghajini’ to name a few.

Bollywood films that are a remake

However, if not made properly then the entire purpose of this whole idea of remaking films gets defeated. It’s also true that once we have seen the original film, making peace with the remake becomes difficult. But what happens if the remake fails to capture the soul of its source material? Obviously, it leaves you disappointed.

To bring something new on plate, how amazing will it be if instead of remaking films so much, our filmmakers adapt more and more novels. I know you must thinking that our filmmakers are already doing that, but there’s still a long way to go when it comes to adapting novels for the silver screens. (And no, I am not talking about Chetan Bhagat novels)

Recently we saw Meghna Gulzar’s spy thriller ‘Raazi‘ starring Alia Bhatt in the lead. The film was an adaptation of Harinder Sikka’s novel ‘Calling Sehmat’. I am so glad that Meghna decided to tell this story of India’s extraordinary spy Sehmat. And it was only due to this film, that we came to know about Sehmat’s existence; or else she would have forever remained the forgotten Heroine from our  history.

India’s literature is so rich that I am quite sure that there are still millions of unheard stories waiting to be told. So just imagine how great it would be if our filmmakers, instead of taking inspiration from already made films, divert their attention to our wonderful literature.

If novels are adapted nicely then our film industry can do wonders both in the terms of storytelling and the business at the box office. Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane’s latest hit web series ‘Sacred Games‘ has taken the entire nation by storm by earning some rave reviews upon its release. For the uninitiated, I just want to mention that this critically acclaimed series is based on Vikram Chandra’s thriller novel of the same name. So you see, if novels are adapted properly then even we can boast of our film industry producing something creative. And we already have many examples of some really good films made out of novels and short-stories like ‘Guide’, ‘Devdas’, ‘Pinjar’ and ‘lootera‘ to name a few.

Bollywood films based on novels

Indian writers like Prem Chand, R.K Narayan, Saadat Hasan Manto, Amrita Pritam, Ruskin Bond, Arundhati Roy, Aravind Adiga and several others have written such great short stories and novels that bringing them on silver screen will be like unearthing a treasure box of some really exceptional stories.

I feel its high time that our filmmakers stop making mindless sequels, useless remakes and unnecessary masala films. It sure is time that they start investing in writers so that they come up with something engaging, interesting and indigenous. And thankfully, this year we already have Aamir Khan‘s ‘Thugs of Hindostan'(based on novel Confessions of a Thug) and Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Pataakha'(based on Charan Singh Pathik’s short story) that I am eagerly looking forward to.

Also Read: Sequel of a biopic! Seriously? What is wrong with Bollywood filmmakers?

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