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NOVELS AND FILMS
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
Suddenly there is a new interest in conversion of popular fiction novels into films, by the Hindi film industry. This trend has started getting into vogue owing to the success that NAMESAKE has enjoyed at the international level both in terms of critical acclaim as also as being able to project the existentialist dilemma that a person of the Diaspora faces. However, because of the topic that it was supposed to cover, NAMESAKE has been able to carve a place for itself at the box office internationally.
This is a new trend for the industry and it is gaining prominence owing to the fact that everybody is now on the lookout for that elusive script that would set the box office on fire. This is how the films are made in Hollywood and they are successful as well. But to expect the same to happen in the same vein in Hindi film industry as well could be too far fetched. This is primarily owing to the fact that the films that are being made are from the novels written in English and their milieu is such in urbanity.
Among the novels on which films are being made or are in different stages of production include SHANTARAM from the novel of the same name, FIVE POINT SOMEONE from the novel of the same name. Of these two, FIVE POINT SOMEONE is about happening in the call centre and is being made with the Indian actors, therefore it may appeal to the urban youth who are employed in great numbers in the call centres along the country. SHANTARAM is being made for an international audience.
If one were to make a comparative analysis of the films being made from novels in Hollywood and in the Indian film industry, the proportion would be 1:100. In the Black & White era quite a lot of films were made on works of Sharat Chand Chatopadhayay's novels, and particular reference could be made about PARINEETA and DEVDAS which were hits. In the initial stages the works from Hindi or regional writers was adapted into films and it was finding moderate success. The first film that was adapted from English novel by the Hindi film industry was GUIDE of R.K. Narayan. However it had raked a lot of controversy from the writer as it did not follow the story line and the screen adaptation was romanticized. It is altogether a different matter that GUIDE became super duper hit. After that there was a long hiatus before any English work by an Indian writer was adapted for Hindi film.
Shakespeare has however been a favorite muse with the Indian film makers, and ANGOOR was a huge hit as it was tempered to Indian situation. Vishal Bhardwaj has also used Shakespeare to establish his credentials as a film maker of repute manifest from his works like MAQBOOL and OMKARA.
Now with the novelty being demanded by the average viewer of the cinema and most of it being the English speaking audience who throng the multiplexes and are conversant with the story line as they have either read the novels or the reviews, and therefore provide an initial receptivity for the film on offer. It happened with NAMESAKE in India, but it could not hit the bulls eye, as the subject of Diaspora is still in its infancy in India.
Even then, it is a new experiment and it provides encouragement for the works especially those like Rag Durbari which is a roaring success, both as a novel and as a serial, to be adopted into a film. Script writing and good stories have come back into demand, it is just the question of widening the search for the writers, and look for them in the Indian literary traditions, and claiming a hit would never be a difficulty.