BIBLIOPHILES VS CINEPHILES
This has been a war since forever, but no one wins because the reader always finds his solace in books and for a cinephile in the movies. However, while some people might be moved by the emotion of a piece of text, some might be moved by an actor’s reaction.
Some movies stay faithful to the written text, while some go ahead and improvise things within the confines of the author’s universe. And some of these adaptations haven’t let their source material down. Even if they deviated slightly from the written word, the directors made sure they captured the essence of the author’s book and thereby found common ground.
Here are few such movies:
Based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel of the same name, ad film director Pradeep Sarkar successfully mounted this gorgeous period drama set in the 1960s in Kolkata. The movie saw commendable performances by Saif Ali Khan, Sabyasachi Chakroborty and a stellar debut by Vidya Balan. From the tram lines to the Durga Pujo celebrations, the film recreated the Kolkata environs quite successfully.
2. There Will Be Blood
Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie was based on Upton Sinclair’s Oil! And while the book was a social satire on the relationship of a father and a son who debate ideals between themselves, the movie is more intense and dramatic in its treatment. Anchored by Daniel Day-Lewis’s fantastic performance as Daniel Plainview, the film isn’t far behind its excellent book.
Again based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s alcoholic protagonist Devdas, the character was recreated by Abhay Deol and Anurag Kashyap as this acid-popping, vodka-guzzling man in Delhi. While it managed to remain faithful to its source material by capturing the lead character’s angst of unrequited love, the film was uber stylish by itself.
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Hand-picked by the author, Stanley Kubrick did more than justice to Arthur C Clarke’s stellar sci-fi novel. Kubrick not only preserved the novel’s cosmic ambiguity but also aided the story with impeccable production and sound design which was way ahead of his contemporaries in 1968. The movie is still considered a technical marvel, nearly half a century since its release.
5. Life of Pi
Helmed by Ang Lee, the book was thought to be ‘unfilmable’ for the longest time, with several plans falling through in the pre-production phase. However, Lee managed the impossible task of shooting a film about a boy stranded in the middle of an ocean with a Royal Bengal tiger. The film omitted several portions of the novel which made the text more immersive. But overall, the film did pretty well.
6. The Blue Umbrella
Based on the short story by Ruskin Bond, Bhardwaj adapted it into a full-fledged feature film with Pankaj Kapur playing Nandu, the conniving local tea-seller. Seduced by the bright, blue umbrella of a little girl he becomes more and more envious of her celebrity status in the village. Bhardwaj did well to capture the innocence of childhood.
Loosely based on The Last Leaf by O’Henry, this movie by Vikramaditya Motwane beautifully captured the surreal elements of its source material. And as the love story took center-stage, both Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha did some of their best work in the movie.
8. 1947: Earth
Deepa Mehta’s second movie in her elements trilogy was based on Bapsi Sidhwa’s Cracking India which was originally called Ice Candy Man. Starring Aamir Khan, Rahul Khanna and Nandita Das, the movie was a brilliant portrait of the partition with our lead characters right in the middle of the tragedy.
9. The Namesake
Jhumpa Lahiri’s outstanding novel on the identity of the American desi kid was beautifully adapted by Mira Nair into a movie starring Kal Penn, Irrfan, and Tabu. Lahiri’s attention to meticulous details was complimented by Nair’s keen eye as she built the environment of a Bengali household without making it apparent.