Indian literature has always presented rich cultural heritage and colourful diversity of our country. Famous authors and novelists have presented the complex human nature and psychology in their work against the Indian backdrop. Some of these novels are so popular that they have intrigued Indian directors to adapt them into movies. Here is a list of such novels that have been adapted into Indian cinema.
#1 Saheb, Bibi, Golam by Bimal Mitra
Written by the Bengali writer Bimal Mitra in the year 1953, this novel was written during the end of nineteenth century. At that point, Calcutta was changing rapidly, feudalism was growing, the traditional Bengali society was declining and people were breaking the shackles of caste barriers. Under such conditions, this novel shows two families, through the eyes of the protagonist. It shows how these changing conditions are affecting those families. Based on this novel Guru Dutt made his movie Sahib, Biwi aur Ghulam in the year 1962.
#2 Devdas by Sarat Chandra Chattapadhyay
Written in 1917, this famous Bengali romance was composed by Sarat Chandra Chattapadhyay when he was just a young boy of seventeen. The unfulfilled romance of Devdas and Parvati inspired main film makers to adapt it into Indian cinema. The best however, arguably, is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s adaptation in 2002
#3 Guide by R.K. Narayan
Written in English in the year 1958, Guide by R.K. Narayan is set in the fictional town of Malgudi. It shows the tremendous transformation that the protagonist ‘Raju’ undergoes in his life which changes him from a normal tourist guide to a spiritual guru. Inspired by this novel Vijay Anand adapted it into a film starring iconic Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman.
#4 Shatranj ke Khiladi by Munshi Premchand
Written in 1924, this short story inspired the veteran director, Satyajit Roy to make it into a film with the same name. This short story depicts the royalty of Central India during 1856. Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was the ruler of Awadh at that time. The obsession of the royal aristocrats for playing chess and neglecting their country was such that British attackers invaded their city while they were busy playing a game of chess and thus their empire came rolling down.
#5 Pinjar by Amrita Pritam
This 1950 Punjabi novel depicts the dark phrase of India- Pakistan division. The protagonist ‘Puro’ is a young Hindu girl who is abducted by a Muslim guy ‘Rashid’. She manages to escape from Rashid’s house and reaches her home where her family refuses to accept her. Left with no choice, she has to return back to Rashid. The novel clearly shows the helpless conditions that women had to suffer. In 2003, Chandra Prakash Dwivedi adapted this novel into a cinema starring Urmila Matondkar and Manoj Bajpai.
#6 Parineeta by Sarat Chandra Chattapadhyay
This 1914 novella set in Calcutta describes the class and religion differences that were present in the society at that time and how it affected the life of the protagonist ‘Parineeta’. In 2005, Pradeep Sarkar made a musical romantic film “Parineeta” starring Vidya Balan, Saif Ali Khan and Sanjay Dutt based on this novella.
#7 Saraswatichandra by Govardhanram Madhavaram Tripathi
This Gujarati novel was written over a span of 15 years. This novel shows the feudalism in India during the nineteenth century. This novel has been adapted into black and white cinema by Govind Saraiya starring Nutan and Manish. The film received National Award for Best cinematography and Best Music Director categories.
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