Book to Cinema Adaptations – Bollywood’s Best 10

The Hindi Film Industry, or Bollywood as it is popularly known as, has often preferred to work with original stories and develop them into mainstream cinema. Unlike Hollywood, Bollywood has not looked at bestselling novels as creative or viable revenue for film screenplays. With the blockbuster success of 3 Idiots, filmmakers are now looking at novels penned by Indian authors as a source that could produce box office success. Recently, the rights to the bestseller Two States was picked up by Sajid Nadiadwala who is one of the most successful film producers in Bollywood. We feel the time is ripe to list the ten best book-to-movie adaptations that Bollywood has produced.

1. Guide One of the finest movies to come out of Bollywood and considered a masterpiece by many. Guide brought together the eternal charmer, Dev Anand, and paired him opposite the powerhouse known as Waheeda Rehman. The story revolved around a footloose guide (played by Dev Anand) who falls in love with a beautiful danseuse (played by Waheeda Rehman). The film deals with the metamorphoses of the footloose guide to a spiritual guru who fasts unto death so that rain may arrive in a drought-hit village. The screenplay of the movie was adapted from the novel, The Guide, by RK Laxman. Guide was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007.

2. 3 Idiots Considered to be the second most successful Hindi film, in terms of box office returns, 3 Idiots touched on the issue of education versus real knowledge. Performances by the three main protagonists, especially Amir Khan, endeared the movie to audiences. The highlight of the movie has to be the welcome speech delivered by Chatur Ramalingam (played by Omi Vaidya) which is replete with double-meaning innuendos. Though the screenplay was loosely adapted from Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone, the author had an issue with the filmmakers for not giving him due credit which resulted in a minor controversy.

3. Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam Adapted from the Bengali novel Saheb Bibi Golam by Bimal Mitra, the movie is a realistic portrayal of the decline of the Bengali aristocracy during the period of British rule in India. Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam will forever be remembered for the superlative performance of Meena Kumari as the lovelorn Choti Bahu who becomes an alcoholic so that her husband will stay at home with her.

4. The Namesake Probably the only film in the list which may not be considered as ‘Bollywood’. The fact that the film starred two Bollywood actors, Tabu and Irrfan Khan, and has a strong Indian essence is reason enough for the movie to appear on this list. Based on the book by Jhumpa Lahiri, the film revolves around the struggle of a Bengali couple (Tabu and Irfan) to come to terms with the American way of life. Richly textured visuals and fine performances by the lead actors and support cast were the highlights of The Namesake.

5. Black Friday A film that brought to life one of the worst acts of terror committed in India: the 93’ Bombay Blasts. Based the book by S. Hussain Zaidi, the film intricately recreates the events surrounded the blasts and how the guilty were brought to justice. Anurag Kashyap was in terrific form as director and extracted award-winning performances from the principal cast. The sensitive nature of the 2004 film caused it several delays and was released three years later in 2007.

6. Maqbool The Indian version of Macbeth was set in the seedy universe of the Mumbai underworld. Vishal Bhardwaj assembled a cast of stellar performers which included Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah, and Om Puri. Though the movie was not a commercial success, it launched Vishal Bharadwaj as one of the finest filmmakers in Bollywood.

7. Hazaar Chauraasi ki Maa A National Award winning film that centres around a woman who has lost her son, a Naxalite. The film marked the return of Jaya Bahaduri to acting after a gap of 18 years. Based on the book by Mahasweta Devi’s Bengali novel Hajar Churashir Ma, the screenplay was written by Govind Nihalani who was also the director of the movie.

8. Umrao Jaan (1981) The story of Umrao Jaan, a famous Lucknow courtesan, gave Rekha the opportunity to essay one of her finest performances to date. Adapted from the Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada by Mirza Hadi Ruswa, the film was directed by Padma Shri awardee Muzaffar Ali and depicted the rise and fall of the ethereal courtesan. The production design of the period film and unforgettable songs such as “Dil cheez kya hai” were the highlights of the film, apart from Rekha’s powerhouse performance.

9. Dev.D Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s classic Bengali novel Devdas is probably one of the most adapted novels. Bollywood has had three different movie versions. We have picked the latest version for its creative, new age interpretation of the novel with a twist at the ending. To a certain extent, Dev.D epitomises a young, modern India which has its own set of rules. Anurag Kashyap brings a certain psychedelic essence to the modern day retelling of the classic Devdas.

10. The Blue Umbrella It is an innocent tale of a kid set in a small village of Himachal Pradesh whose prized possession, a blue umbrella, is stolen by the richest man in the village. Directed by Vishal Bharadwaj, the film won the 2006 National Film Award for Best Children’s Film. The screenplay is adapted from a novel of the same name by Ruskin Bond.

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Calvin and Hobbes!

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Turning over a new leaf!

Source: Hindustan Times I 27th March 2011 I Sunday

A FRESH CHAPTER Marathi publishing houses, once oblivious to profit margins and marketing techniques, are wooing the next generation with web shops and Kindle-friendly e-books.

Their idea of a marketing campaign used to be rickety wooden tables laden with Marathi tomes and lined up in an empty shop or exhibition space.

The internet is the most person- alised medium available. It's time for publishers to chuck those post- cards and just send an email. I SUNIL MEHTA , head of Mehta Publications

Now, they are setting up snazzy websites with e-stores and uploading titles in PDF format for use on e-book readers like Amazon’s Kindle.

It’s a sea change for a publishing fraternity that has traditionally shunned overt marketing and taken a laissez faire attitude to profit margins.

But, as Marathi publishers are saying, it isn’t just about marketing. It’s about connecting with a new generation of readers in a relevant and effective manner.

“The truth is that the internet is going to be an inseparable part of the average youngster’s life, and that’s why we began our e-journey,“ says Sunil Mehta, 44, owner of Mehta Publishing House.

“Most Marathi publishing houses have their own little retail outlets, but a web store means you are not just reaching out to your city, you are reaching out to the world.“

Mehta’s 33-year-old publishing house recently uploaded on its website excerpts of 1,200 of its titles, in PDF format, giving e-visitors a taste of the works available for purchase online. In another four months, Mehta plans to expand this list of online offerings to include all 3,000 of its titles.

“It’s all about reaching the right market, and the internet can help us reach millions of relevant doorsteps at little cost,“ says Harsha Bhatkal, 48, owner of the 59-year-old Popular Prakashan, iconic Mumbai-based printers of more than 1,000 Marathi works and numerous scholastic and educational texts.

One of the first Marathi publishers to latch on to the Net, Popular Prakashan launched its website in 2002, to showcase its range of offerings by renowned Marathi writers such as Vijay Tendulkar, VD Karandikar and GV Kulkarni.

Two years ago, the website was expanded to include a web store for Marathi and English titles. “We have also started selling Marathi e-books and I believe that that’s where the future lies,“ says Bhatkal. “I have already seen the Web market for Marathi literature grow significantly over the past year.“

The Net is also reaping rich rewards for Ameya Prakashan, which launched its website in 1998 and recently expanded its web store and e-book offerings.

“I have always believed in the web as a medium of reaching out to readers, and now I believe as strongly in the potential of e-books,“ says Ulhas Latkar, 45, head of Ameya Prakashan, which hired a consultant to help make the website more attractive and easier to navigate.

We Maharashtrians are to be blamed for not making Marathi literature visible enough in the market. The internet has given us a fresh opportunity. HARSHA BHATKAL , head of Popular Prakashan

The e-store now offers 25 titles, including translations of best-selling books by US President Barack Obama, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar.

“We’re now getting 25 hits on our site every day, up from 20 about three months ago,“ says Latkar. “And the hits are translating into online and offline sales in 5% of the cases.”

One of those new-age Web-savvy Marathi book buyers is Harshal Mahajan, 30, a Thane resident who regularly buys books on e-bookstores such as sahyadribooks.org and marathimati.com.

“Now I don’t have to go hopping from shop to shop, trying to find books to suit my specific interests,“ he says. “These websites have given me much better access to Marathi literature and made it much easier for me to find books I have been searching for.“

The websites are also getting hits from Indians living abroad.

“The diaspora is getting stronger these days and it’s easiest for NRIs to order through the internet,“ says Bhatkal. “We are also getting orders from governments of countries like the US, UK and Canada, where there are large Indian communities and public libraries wish to stock samples of their vernacular literature.”

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Book Launch – Black Brown & The Blue -Shuvaprasanna

Black Brown & The Blue -Shuvaprasanna. The 256 page illustrated book in limited edition and hard cover, edited by curator-writer Sushma Bahl, explores the conceptual depths of Shuvaprasanna’s aesthetics. Besides well researched essays and interviews by scholars including distinguished art historian Prof B N Goswamy, art critic and historian Dr Seema Bawa, curator -consultant Ina Puri, German scholar and art collector Ralph Oestrich, eminent art critic Manasi Majumder and the editor; the publication also includes a substantial number of full page reproductions of the artist’s work as well as some rare photographs and other memorabilia. Who is Shuvaprasanna? What are his aesthetics? Where does he draw his inspiration from? The publication vividly tells the story of the man and his artistic track, how he has managed to get to where he is today, to make it a collectors’ delight and a useful reference source on contemporary Indian art.

Date: Apr 08 2011

Time: 07:00 PM

Venue: TAO Art Gallery

THE VIEW, 165, A.B. ROAD, Worli, Mumbai

www.taoartgallery. com I   91 22 24918585/8686

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How Shakespeare is still relevant to the Facebook Generation

It would not be an exaggeration to state that Shakespeare is
a name that is synonymous with literature. His works have been studied by students and performed by theatre enthusiasts for decades.  The true genius of Shakespeare and his works lies in the fact that uttering his name would elicit at least a faint recognition even from someone who has not studied literature, or read any of his plays. That is certainly not the case with other noteworthy writers of that era including Christopher Marlowe and Ben Johnson.

No other writer or playwright in the history of literature has enjoyed the popularity and following as the “Bard of Avon” which is strange, considering the fact that Shakespeare wrote in Elizabethan English (an outdated form of English) and his plays reflect the customs and traditions of the Elizabethan age.

When you read Shakespeare for the first time, it takes a few pages to get used to the archaic vocabulary and grammar. Yet, this has not stopped people from reading the plays and hailing them as an important milestone in dramatics and literature. This brings us to the title of this topic and a question that is worth asking: How is Shakespeare still relevant in the Facebook Generation?

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter has brought about a cultural revolution in the way we interact with our friends and the world in general. As long as you have an internet connection, catching up with your friends is just a click away. Social networking sites have also provided a platform for the public to voice their opinions and even start a revolt as the recent uprising in Egypt has demonstrated.

In such a time and age, are the works of a 16th century playwright still relevant? The one word answer to this question is…yes.

The reason why the “Bard of Avon” is still relevant to those of us who type exclusively in 140 characters (read: the twitterati) is because Shakespeare’s plays were based on themes central to human emotions that are a focal point of our existence. In other words, the plays centred on emotions such as jealousy, love, hate, lust, greed, which will never go out of fashion as long as we exist.

Take Macbeth for instance. The tragic tale of a hero turned thrown usurper is one of the bard’s finest tragedies. The play opens with Macbeth returning victorious in battle and the king applauding him for his outstanding bravery. Unbridled greed and ambition soon takes centre stage with Lady Macbeth inciting her vulnerable husband to kill the king and rightfully take his place. The psychological effect (conscience in layman’s terms) of the cold blooded murder takes a toll on the despairing Lady Macbeth who tries to invisible bloodstains off her hands.

We may be more connected to our friends today, thanks to social media, but we still feel pangs of jealousy when colleagues or even our friends achieve something and are in the spotlight. There are moments when greed and ambition still force us to go against our conscience and commit actions that we later regret. Jealousy and greed, however, are not the only emotions that we continue to share.

Love, brotherhood, compassion are some of the other emotions that are central to our existence. In Romeo and Juliet, the two central characters cast aside familial enmity and fall in love with each other. The love that they share is pure in its essence and devoid of any ulterior motives. In the same play, the brotherhood shared between Romeo and Mercutio is so strong that the latter gives up his life and saves Romeo.

We have moved from caves to cities, but we still experience the emotions of friendship and love and share it with people around us. In fact, social media itself is based on the principle that it allows you to befriend other users and stay in touch with constant friends. Social media sites have essayed the role of cupid too- just like the two angels in A Midsummer’s Night Dream– and have helped users to discover love.

Apart from the emotional content, Shakespeare’s contemporary relevance can be traced to his immense contributions to the modern English language. In the age of Shakespeare, there were no standard set of rules for the way English was spoken or written. The bard’s use of grammar and sentence structure has pretty much shaped the way we talk and write the Queen’s language today. When you say “with bated breath” or “a foregone conclusion”, remember that Shakespeare was the first to use these phrases.

Though we have evolved as a technologically advanced race, we still experience the same emotions that people did back in Shakespeare’s times. As long as we continue to experience shared emotions such as love, joy, guilt, greed, and compassion, the bard’s plays will live on in our collective consciousness.

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E Books and the Dawn of the Interactive Novel

Once upon a time…books were available only in paperback format.  There was a certain aura surrounding the ubiquitous paperback as readers delved into the pages of a book and entered a literary world created by the author. Books were read under a reading light, in trains and buses, or while sitting on a comfortable couch with the warmth of a fireplace for company.  Serious readers considered bookshelves that boasted of ancient classics and intelligent reads to be an important part of their home decor.

With the internet revolution, books, like other forms of mass media, underwent a digital transformation and the e book was born. Initially, publishers feared that e books could have a negative impact on the publishing industry the same way digital music affected the music business. Those fears were laid to rest when readers preferred to wind down with their favourite novels at the end of the day rather than read one off the computer screen.

E books have largely been perceived as digital avatars of their paperback cousins. The physical makeup of an e book is similar to its paperback cousin: Both have textual matter arranged in the form of chapters. This is set to change with e-book readers or e-readers such as Kindle rising in popularity with reading enthusiasts.

Readers are now reading more e books than paperbacks. E readers with their massive memories allow users to carry a whole library of books in their pockets. This allows users to read multiple books simultaneously.

A paperback novel contains text, and in special cases graphic art such as maps. An e book can go beyond textual matter and open up a whole new dimension to readers, albeit a more interactive experience. Authors can indulge their readers in a lot more information without it affecting the pace and the plot of the novel.

Reference material and bibliographies at the end of books, or pasted in footnotes, could transform into live information sources in the form of hyperlinks. All that the reader would have to do is click the link as they read the novel to gain a deeper understanding. The link would then direct them to the relevant information, and they would be able to do this instantly than postpone reading the reference.

E books have the potential to create a literary universe in the palm of your hands. The back-story of a side character, which is important to the plot but cannot be accommodated in the novel, can find a voice through images and short videos that would display if the reader clicked the character name.

The rising popularity of the digital book could have a huge impact on the very form of literature itself. The heightened interactivity an e book promises to offer may transform the way books are written and conceived. In the near future you could have e books replete with references to images, videos, or even songs.

With an interactive e book, the possibilities are endless.

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Great Movie Adaptations

Ever since popular mainstream cinema took hold over the collective fancy of book readers and general public, there have Hundreds of books to movie adaptations. Most of the time the central core is lost in translation and very rarely a seminal piece of work emerges that holds it own when compared to the source material.

1) The Godfather: Adapted by Mario Puzo himself into a screenplay directed by Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather is much imitated by never matched for its formidable storytelling and cast about the The Corleone Family. Each of the characters written in the book or adapted left an indelible mark on moviegoers across the world.

Most remembered: Micheal Corleone

Most memorable line – I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.(Don Vito)

2) 2001: A Space Odyssey: Spellbindingly original. This collaboration between Arthur C Clarke and Stanley Kubrick  delivered a movie masterpiece that takes the viewer on a journey like never before. Across galaxies, through thousands of years of evolution leaving us to interpret and question our existence in this universe.

Most remembered: HAL

Most memorable line – Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave? (HAL)

3) LA Confidential: Adapted from James Ellroy’s crime saga about Hollywood, bent policemen, wily politicians and men and women on a path to destruction presented America’s lurid side in all its glory. Ellroy’s staccato prose delivery and a twisted look at Hollywood’s deepest secrets made this a must read. Matching his brilliant theme was the film with a stellar star cast of Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, Guy Pearce and James Cromwell. LA Confidential was noir at its best.

Most remembered: Officer Bud White played by Russell Crowe

Most memorable line: Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush

4) Lord Of The Rings: A true epic that needs no introduction for a book lover. JRR Tolkien masterpiece about the Middle earth was as brilliant as they come. An entire world created of unforgettable characters and a journey that tests the will, courage, love and goodness inside. Peter Jackson and team converted the 1000 plus pages tome into a nine and half hours film and retaining the essence of the book and took us on an unparalleled journey that kept us engrossed from the first scene to the last.

Most remembered: Gollum

Most memorable line: My preciousss!!!!

5) The Shining: The only horror film/book in this list from the prolific Stephen King who was in top form in the late seventies and eighties. Played by Jack Nicholson and masterfully directed by Stanley Kubrick is about a family of 3 who become caretakers for a lodge in the winter. The horror in the book and the film creeps up slowly and at the most unexpected places and set the stage for some amazing interplay of horror among the lead characters.

Most remembered: Nicholson for his crazily whacked out performance

Most memorable line: “REDRUM” competes with “Heeere Johnny!!!!!”

6) Blade Runner: Philip K Dick’s works have been adapted by Hollywood many a times with some memorable results but non matched the tour de force that Ridley Scott brought to Bladerunner. The charismatic Harrison Ford plays Deckard a Bladerunner someone who hunts down replicants who hunts down human like robots who have outlived their use. Science fiction to bring on the screen requires great vision and style which Mr. Scott has in plenty. Here he creates a dystopian world bleak, perennially raining where the lines between human and non human have blurred leading to an unforgettable finale.

Most remembered: Harrison Ford as Deckard

Most memorable line: I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die.

7) Shawshank Redemption: One of the best stories written by Stephen King and it’s not horror but about hope. A young and successful banker whose life changes drastically when he is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife and her lover. Set in the 1940’s, the film shows how Andy, with the help of his friend Red, the prison entrepreneur, turns out to be a most unconventional prisoner Some super acting by Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins made this one of the all time brilliant movies ever filmed. Searing, heartbreaking and stirringly directed by Frank Darbont stands tall as a story of the triumph of the human spirit.

Most remembered: Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd Redding – RED

Most memorable line: I don’t know; every man has his breaking point

8) Silence of the Lambs: Skilfully adapted from Thomas Harris’s novel by the same name starring Anthony Hopkins in a role of a lifetime and a compelling Jodie foster as the FBI agent who must track down a serial killer with the help of another. Grippingly directed and performances that stay with you long after you finished watching this is material adapted at it best. It’s a tough call between  the book and the film to decide what’s superior.

Most remembered: Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Most memorable line: A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

9) Goodfellas: Goodfellas is based on Wiseguy, a 1990 novel by Nicholas Pileggi. The title of Pileggi’s book was changed to Goodfellas because it had already been used for a TV series. The master of crime dramas Martin Scorcese directs this riproaring saga of the mob and its colorful characters set in New York

Most remembered: Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito

Most memorable line: Sure, mom, I settle down with a nice girl every night, then I’m free the next morning.

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Book Reading from Books Shortlisted for The Hindu Best Fiction Award 2010

Book Reading from Books Shortlisted for The Hindu Best Fiction Award 2010

Via The Hindu

Left - Manu Joseph and Palash Krishna Mehrotra

As a prelude to The Hindu Best Fiction Award 2010 (to be held in Chennai on November 1), The Hindu Literary Review and Landmark have organised readings from the shortlisted books across the country.

Hyderabad
Landmark Store, Banjara Hills, October 29, 6. 30 p.m.. Little Theatre will read from Manu Joseph’s Serious Men by, Anjum Hasan Neti Neti, Tishani Doshi’s The Pleasure Seekers and Palash Krishna Mehrotra’s Eunuch Park.

Chennai
Landmark Store, Apex Plaza, Nungambakkam, October 27, 6.30 p.m.. Theatre Y will read from Manu Joseph’s Serious Men. Introduction by Asha Mathen, VP, Deutsche Bank.

Bangalore
Landmark, Garuda Swagat Mall, Jayanagar, October 26, 6.30 p.m. Poet Anindita Das will read from Palash Krishna Mehrotra’s Eunuch Park: Fifteen Stories of Love and Destruction. Introduction by Deepika Arwind, theatre personality.

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rediscover reading

Reading is one of the most pleasurable and private moments we can have with ourselves. In a flip of a page you could transcend time, countries and people and at the same time learn so much more.

With reading we discover ourselves, our likes, dislikes, our passions, places we’d like to go, things we like to do. Such is the power of reading that it transports you into our own personal odyssey of wonderful and unforgettable experiences.

We at bookstok.com wish to bring back the magic of reading in our lives. The magic of holding a book, rustle through the pages, immerse ourselves in prose, poetry and pictures and feel every word come alive.

It is this endeavor that made us start this enterprise to bring affordability and variety to our customers. So feel free to flip through our endless catalogue of books and magazines to cater to every hobby, interest and whim of yours.

Begin your journey of discovery with one single step… Turn the page.

Welcome to bookstok.com… rediscover reading.

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