From the famous Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes to teen fiction like The Fault In Our Stars, Satyajit Ray’s famous Apu Trilogy, and the various remakes of Devdaas – books have always been a major source of inspiration for filmmakers around the world.
There are thousands of books that seem perfect for the big screen – with their elaborate characters, vivid scenarios, touching storylines, and complex and thought-provoking plots. We have listed some of these books with the most engaging storylines and memorable characters that could potentially blow your mind as movies.
8 Books That Would Make Blockbuster Movies
The Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi
This trilogy is known for its mind-blowing ability to blur the lines between ancient history and Hindu mythology. Meluha, in the book, is a fictional town whose features are inspired by the towns in the Indus Valley Civilization. The story takes you on a journey with Shiva, a wanderer and a warrior while exploring a range of mythical stories from the Puranas that some of us would have grown up hearing.
The humanization of Gods and the fictional yet magical world that Tripathi creates is gripping and makes the book unputdownable. There are divine characteristics – immortality, divine weapons, and yet there are human emotions of love, war, loss, and grief – that would make you feel a whole spectrum of emotions throughout the runtime. Having sold millions of copies worldwide, this would definitely make a mega blockbuster and a box-office success!
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini sure writes some compelling tales, and this one is just right for a wholesome movie. A Thousand Splendid Suns is a story about female companionship and the tragedy of being a woman in a war-torn country. It has a range of characters with different backgrounds, personalities, and arcs that make the story even more heartfelt. A woman who is barely educated, married off young to a violent middle-aged man, a young girl who finds herself alone in the middle of a war, torn from her family, and a baby girl who her father disregards because of her gender.
This book has some amazing female representation, a sensible depiction of mental health issues in third world countries and disability, geo-political events, and how war devastates a people. Heartbreaking yet hopeful, the story leaves you in tears while putting a smile on your face. Although there aren’t enough words to praise this book, Laila and Tariq would definitely become the next favourite couple when this is adapted into a movie!
A Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Most of us are perhaps familiar with the story of the Mahabharata – which has been adapted into a number of shows, and the 1988 version is known to have a huge number of views in India when it was aired (again) during the Lockdown. However, A Palace of Illusions is different – an epic told from the POV of Draupadi – a woman forced into polyandry, used as a bet in a game by her husband, disrobed publicly and humiliated throughout the epic.
The story draws your attention to the female perspective in the epic, highlights the good and the evil, and creates a unique, bold, and captivating storyline. With multiple battle sequences, larger-than-life sets, extravagant costumes, and a fresh retelling of one of the most popular stories in the history of the subcontinent, this is perfect for a Blockbuster period drama. Who would you want to see as Draupadi, though?
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, the adaptation of this book is what you need. It is a story about an artist convicted of killing her husband who hasn’t uttered a word since. While a forensic psychotherapist becomes obsessed with the case and becomes rather hell-bent on getting to the bottom of this and maybe breaking the silence, the plot gets really intense. It is perfect for playing with the viewers’ sensibilities and keeps them on edge until the very end. Plus, the main lead not having any dialogue would add to the engaging and sometimes disturbing plot.
The duality of the timeline would definitely help the director play with flashbacks and dig deeper into the psyche of the complex characters, making the movie even more gripping. For all the book fans, let us hope someone brings the story to the screen – this would be quite the addition to the genre for sure!
Kafka On the Shore by Haruki Murakami
For anyone who loves magical realism and surreal stories, Kafka On The Shore is a story about a teenage boy who is searching for his mum and sister while also trying to find himself along the way and an old man, Nakata – a survivor of the second world war with a rather magical ability. As the story progresses, the plot keeps moving towards surrealism and borderline absurdity, which would be perfect for a movie – you can never guess what will happen next.
The story plays with the human psyche’s dark side, and a movie out of this book will make the audience quite flummoxed with the twists. Kafka on the Shore has everything a thought-provoking movie could possibly have -A teenage boy reading Mein Kampf, alone in the woods, experiencing paranormal stuff while living in a library, humans talking to cats, and literal fishes from the sky – you name it. With stunning cinematography and visual effects, dream-like sequences would transport the audience to another world that would stay long after the movie ends!
The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh
Set in the islands of the Sundarbans, The story revolves around three characters, a Marine Biologist, a local Fisherman, and a Delhi-Based businessman. While belonging to completely different backgrounds, their lives intertwine while travelling through the dangerous water on the islands. Personal dilemmas, human relationships, class biases, and some underlying geo-political events in hindsight form the story’s base. The character arcs are so well crafted you will root for them with all your heart.
Exploring an unlikely friendship, love, and redemption, The Hungry Tide would make a compelling story – with the lush greens of the regions, the dangerous terrain, flashbacks, and recollection of folklores. The vivid scenes and maybe some folk music from the region could add the right touch to make the movie even more grasping.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
The entire story is set against the backdrop of different upheavals – the Bhopal gas Tragedy, the Godhra Train Burning, and the insurgency in Kashmir. Different characters representing different sections of society come together as the story progresses. There’s Anjum – who’s born intersex and has found a place in the Hijra community and a whole group of misfits – Tilo, a rebellious architect; Dr. Azad Bharatiya, a protester who dreams of a better tomorrow, and Dayachand, who does odd jobs in the city of Delhi.
The story is so special, however, because of the character’s expositions and personal turmoils against a bigger picture of society, changes, and rebellion. The layered characters and complex emotions would make it a heartfelt movie, especially with references to real events that make the base of the plot. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness would be perfect for people who loved Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider or Imtiaz Ali’s Highway.
Girl in White Cotton by Avni Doshi
This novel by Avni Doshi is a unique and intriguing take on a mother-daughter relationship. The dysfunctionality in a family, childhood trauma, abuse, and ailment are central to the theme and would definitely translate into a great movie – especially with the flashbacks and dual timelines. The internalized resentment and how that affects the present would leave you in a dilemma and then root for the characters. The use of white in the book could add to a stunning visual effect that draws the audience toward the characters and their stories.
Doshi’s story narrates this unconventional tale using memory, identity, and the connection between past and present. The richness of the themes and the unabashed peek into some complex characters would certainly add to the cinematic qualities on the big screen.
Let us know what books you would like to see as a movie!