Research suggests that it may be the tested market and reader-approved plot twists that make film adaptations work well with the audience
Indian filmmakers have borrowed stories from the literary world as a source of inspiration to make movies. Big screen adaptations of books and epic poems have often tasted box office success, making them a hit formula for the industry.
In 2018, many movies were based on such literature. The year began with the film adaptation of Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi's poem. The poem Padmaavat was the basis for one of 2018's highest grossing films. The movie starring Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh made close to Rs 300 crore in India and collected more than Rs 500 crore worldwide.
Another director that turned to literature for a strong story line was Meghna Gulzar. Raazi, based on the novel Calling Sehmat by Harinder Sikka brought to theatres the tale of an Indian spy. The film touching the Rs 100 crore-mark came as a surprise to the industry as it was made with a small budget of Rs 38 crore.
When the short story, The Sanitary Man of Sacred Land from Twinkle Khanna’s book The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad came on to the celluloid, it opened up a discussion on menstruation -- a topic considered to be a taboo in India.
It was PadMan, starring Akshay Kumar that told the story of social activist Arunachalam Muruganantham who invented low-cost sanitary pad-making machine. The film raked in Rs 78 crore at the box office.
Other films that took inspiration from books were Daas Dev, based on Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s Bengali novel Devdas, and Bioscopwala that was an adaptation of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s Kabuliwala.
Research suggests that it may be the tested market and reader-approved plot twists that make film adaptations work well with the audience.
Success of such films are looked at in two ways: Film adaptations performing better is a proof that cine-goers love literature, and that people prefer screenplays that they have already heard, more than original screenplays.
Multiple films in 2019 will be based on literature. The year will begin with a film adaptation of the book called The Accidental Prime Minister, releasing on January 11. The films is based on the memoir of the same name by Sanjay Baru, who was former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s media advisor.
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, starring father-daughter duo Anil and Sonam Kapoor along with Rajkumar Rao is inspired by PG Wodehouse book Damsel in Distress.Not just films, even the digital world has been considering books as a powerful source for successful films and web series. Two shows Sacred Games and Selection Day took inspiration from books by authors Vikram Chandra and Aravind Adiga, respectively.