Bollywood takes its inspiration from varied areas, and books are still among the top! But, all the book lovers out there know that films hardly do justice to the beauty of written words. Once you have read the book, watching a movie based on it is almost always a disastrous experience! The book is always better right?
Yes. But here are a few movies that have still met the expectations with amazing cast and direction to bring our favorite books to life on the big screen. All things considered, they perform equally well when compared to books, if not better. Here are some novel based Bollywood movies that are actually worth watching.
3 idiots (Five Point Someone)
This highly entertaining comedy sends a strong message focusing on the rotten education system, where cramming the exact definition seems more important than understanding the concepts. 3 idiots is based on the novel ‘Five Point Someone’ by Chetan Bhagat – where three engineering students struggle to survive college life while fighting the draconian school system. The movie will make you double up in laughter while also expertly showcasing the anxiety and pressure on students who cannot afford just ratta maar the book.
In the end, Aamir Khan as Rancho teaches us the importance of calming the heart by saying, ‘Aal izz well’ and running after self-growth instead of success.
Beta qabil bano qabil. Kamyabi toh sali jhak maar ke tumhare peeche ayegi.
Maqbool is one of the best film versions of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and is indeed an unforgettable masterpiece. This movie brought together the finest actors in Indian cinema, such as Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Naseeruddin Shah, and Om Puri, along with the brilliance of the filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj. Set against the backdrop of Mumbai’s underworld, the movie tells the story of the rise and fall of a powerful don. Maqbool, a cinematic treat, made both Shakespeare and Irrfan Khan a household name in India.
This film is a treasure and stands out with its powerful display of emotions and a super engaging script.
Ya toh goli maar ya gale aake mil.
Haider is a tragic film that tells the tale of a young poet and student who returns to Kashmir when his father disappears. The movie is inspired by the book Hamlet written by William Shakespeare. Shahid Kapoor does justice to the film’s storyline by adapting a rough-edged attitude and a rugged look that goes with the trauma that follows. The mother-son duo struggles to come to terms with Haider’s father, and the movie expertly shows the dark side of the Kashmir conflict that is mostly left out of films.
Bringing real-life grievance to the big screen, Haider is a story of betrayal, existential crisis, and revenge that leaves the audience gripping the edge of their seat.
Jab tak hum inteqaam se azaad nahi honge na, koi azaadi humein azaad nahi kar sakti.
The Blue Umbrella (The Blue Umbrella)
The Blue Umbrella, which won the National Film Award for Best Children’s Film, is a treat to the eyes. Based on Ruskin Bond’s book of the same name, this movie tells a simple, sweet story of a little girl and her love for her blue umbrella. When some Japanese tourists gift Binya, a little girl, a fancy blue umbrella, she becomes quite famous in her village. Everyone loves the umbrella and is happy for Biniya, except for one old shopkeeper who wants to acquire the umbrella at all costs. Needless to say, the problems begin.
Ruskin Bond has a magical way of telling stories, and Vishal Bharadwaj is skilled in bringing it to the big screen. Combining the two talents made The Blue Umbrella a piece of art.
Aatma ki shaanti mei nafa nukhsan nahi dekha jata.
Written in 1917 by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, the brilliancy of Devdas can be judged by the sheer number of Bollywood movie adaptions to its name. This story is about two childhood sweethearts and soulmates whose love suffers under India’s rigid class structure. Shahrukh Khan, the king of romance, was perfect as the lead character taking to the bottle after their love crumbled under societal pressure. The end scene, where the married Paro leaves everything and runs up to the dying Devdas, has a lot of hearts bleeding to date.
Devdas is not only a brilliant work of literature but also a cinematic genius. People make great efforts to alleviate their pain, and this movie follows an exemplary path to depict this.
Kon kambakht bardaasht karne ko peeta hai? Hum toh peete hain ki yahan par baith sakein, tumhe dekh sakein, tumhe bardaasht kar sakein.
The Namesake (The Namesake)
The movie brings the first-generation immigrant experiences to the big screen – the cultural shock, the yearning for love, and the fight with lost identities. A truly sad and heart-wrenching film, The Namesake is based on a best-selling novel of the same name by Jhumpa Lahiri. Growing up in a country and moving to a whole new place with basically everything happening quite the opposite to what you are used to is not an easy job. Flipping between both worlds and the emotional toll it causes is the crux of this movie.
The second generation born in a foreign country and growing up with totally different views forms a huge gap in the family – where traditional and modern collide and keeping the family together becomes a task.
Pack a pillow and blanket. Go see the world. You will never regret it, Gogol.
Masoom (Man, Woman, and Child)
Masoom is a tear-jerking story of a man, his wife, and his illegitimate child with another woman. Based on the novel – Man, Woman, and Child by Erich Segal – this Bollywood movie is one of the best ones of its time. Masoom rides an emotional roller coaster, testing the bonds of love and marriage while also showing a child’s existential crisis who has no one to call a family. On the one hand, the kid runs to his father after his mother dies; on the other hand, the wife is naturally not happy with this addition to the family, who serves as a reminder of her husband’s betrayal.
This movie covers the multiple perspectives of the title, showing multiple characters as masoom. While the woman and the child have all the rights to behave the way they do, the man too wears his pain and suffering – portraying a deeply sad character.
Tujhse naraz nahi zindagi, hairan hoon mai.
Kai Po Che (Three Mistakes of My Life)
A story of three friends who are inseparable for life but can their bond survive in the face of adversities? Kai Po Che!, a Gujrati term meaning ‘I’ve cut the kite!’ is a movie based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel – ‘The Three Mistakes of My Life’. The movie talks about everything from aspirations, falling down, and rising back up to love and heartbreak. Kai Po Che is an ode to friendship and young adults who struggle to leave a mark on this world with their dreams and diligence.
When one falls down, the other is present to help him get back up and cheer on along the journey of growth – that is the magic friends possess and the movie showcases.
Jeet kabhi, haar kabhi. Gham toh yaaron honge do pal k mehmaan.
Guide (The Guide)
The guide was a romantic drama that was released in 1965 and is unquestionably one of the best films Bollywood has ever produced. The movie is based on a novel – ‘The Guide’ – written by R.K. Narayan. Starring the best actors in the lead role, Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman, the popularity of the film gained a cult following. Back in the day, the only options an unhappily married woman had were to either bear it or commit suicide. The movie sheds light on the desperation of women in such circumstances.
Guide splendidly worked to shatter societal rules of the times and turned into a gem we still remember today.
Lagta hai aaj har ichcha puri hogi. Par maza dekho, aaj koi ichcha hi nahi rahi.
Raazi (Calling Sehmat)
This spy thriller film is based on the true story of a young Indian Kashmiri spy married to a Pakistani officer. Calling Sehmat, the book inspiring the movie, was written by Harinder S. Sikka and is set around the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. Highly inspiring, the young spy played by Alia Bhatt in the movie sacrifices all of herself and the remainder of her family to fulfill her father’s dying wish and serve the nation. The terrific performances and the storyline left a lasting print on the people’s hearts across the borders.
Utterly heartbreaking, the movie showcases the casualties of war that not only destroy people on the outside but also leave them devastated inside.
Jung mei nukhsaan sirf jaan ka nahi hota… Kabhi kabhi casualties in war zinda
bhi reh jaate hain.
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