We Bet You Didn’t Know These Bollywood Films Adapted from Novels


(By Veena Pulapaka)

Inspiration can be taken from just about anything, and looks like even Bollywood doesn’t shy away from taking some inspiration from good old novels to satisfy the growing needs of Indian movie-mongers who look for different concepts in films.

Since the inception of cinema as an art form, films have been ‘adapted’ from books – be it concepts, themes, characters, storylines or the whole book. Here is a list of Bollywood films adapted from novels.

1- Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962)

Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam is a 1962 Hindi film produced by Guru Dutt and directed by Abrar Alvi. It‘s based on a Bengali novel, “Shaheb Bibi Golam??? written by Bimal Mitra. The book is a look into the tragic fall of the Haveli system and bonded labour in Bengal during the British Raj. The film stars Guru Dutt, Meena Kumari, Rehman, Waheeda Rehman and Nazir Hussain.

The film was first made in Bengali, starring Kanu Banerjee and Uttam Kumar. Later adapted into Hindi by Guru Dutt, the film was a major critical and commercial success, with critics attributing it to Meena Kumari’s outstanding performance as Chhoti Bahu, which is regarded as one of the best performances of Hindi cinema.

2- Guide (1965)

Guide is a 1965 romantic drama film which stars Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman in lead roles. The film is based on the novel “The Guide???, written by R. K. Narayan. It was directed by Vijay Anand. The film was a box office (BO) hit on its release. The movie proved to be memorable for its top-notch performances by the lead actors and music score by S. D. Burman. However, the interesting part lies in the end of the film being different from that of the book.

In the book, Raju sets out to woo Rosie. However, in the film (probably keeping the society of the time in mind), Rosie is shown to be unhappy in the marriage. Also, in the film, Dev Anand dies as a famous baba. This is not explicitly mentioned in the novel by RK Narayan, which is a masterpiece on human psychology and ambition.

3- Tere Mere Sapne (1971)

Tere Mere Sapne is a 1971 film produced by Dev Anand, which was written and directed by his own brother Vijay Anand under the banner of Navketan Films. The story is based on “The Citadel???, a novel written by A.J. Cronin. ‘The Citadel’ was a path breaking novel about medical ethics and has been lauded around the world.


Tere Mere Sapne stars Dev Anand, Vijay Anand, Mumtaz, and Hema Malini in the lead characters. The film’s music was scored by S. D. Burman. The film was touted to be a commercial pot-broiler. The film was later made into Bengali and Telugu as well.

4- Junoon (1978)

Junoon is a 1978 Hindi film produced by Shashi Kapoor. The award-winning film was critically acclaimed which was directed by Shyam Benegal. The film is based on Ruskin Bond’s fictional novella, “A Flight of Pigeons???. Set during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the book narrates the story of a British woman who take the help of Muslim and Hindu Indians to reach their family after her husband is killed in a church.

Junoon’s cast included Shashi Kapoor, his wife Jennifer Kendal, Nafisa Ali, Tom Alter, Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Naseeruddin Shah, Deepti Naval, Pearl Padamsee and Sushma Seth.

5- Devdas (2002)

Devdas is a 2002 romantic drama film directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. It’s based on the 1917 Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novella called “Devdas???. The film follows the life of Devdas (Shah Rukh Khan) and Paro (Aishwarya Rai). This is the third Hindi version and the first film version of Hindi to be made in color. Devdas was declared a hit upon its release by Box Office.

For long, Indian cinema has been obsessed with Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel. There have been 16 adaptations of the novel into cinema, with some versions being shot in Pakistan and Bangladesh as well. However, not many know that Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the novel when he was only 17!!!

6- Parineeta (2005)

Parineeta is a 2005 Indian musical romantic drama film. It was adapted from the 1914 Bengali novella, “Parineeta??? written by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. Directed by debutant Pradeep Sarkar, the film was based upon a screenplay written by the film’s producer, Vidhu Vinod Chopra.


The film starred Vidya Balan, Saif Ali Khan and Sanjay Dutt in lead roles. Other notable performances were by Raima Sen who plays supporting role of Lalita’s chirpy cousin, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty who plays the pivotal role of Shekhar’s father, Diya Mirza, with a cameo appearance as Shekhar’s fiancé and Rekha, with a cameo performance of a night club (Moulin Rouge) singer.

7- The Blue Umbrella (2005)

The Blue Umbrella is a 2005 drama film based on the novel, “The Blue Umbrella???, by Ruskin Bond. It was directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. It stars Shreya Sharma and Pankaj Kapur in lead characters. The music was scored by Bhardwaj himself for which lyrics were penned by Gulzar.


The Blue Umbrella is a beautiful story of a little girl who exchanges her necklace for a beautiful blue umbrella. Very soon, the umbrella is the cynosure of all eyes in the village, especially of a shopkeerp – Ram Bharosa – who desires the umbrella. When his apprentice offers to steal it for him, and gets caught, Ram Bharosa is accused of being a thief. The film managed to capture the essence of the story in a beautiful way, going on to win National Awards for those involved in the making of the film.

8- Omkara (2006)

Omkara is a 2006 crime drama film. It was adapted from Shakespeare’s “Othello???, co-written and directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. It starred Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan, Vivek Oberoi and Kareena Kapoor in the lead roles. The supporting roles played by Naseeruddin Shah, Konkona Sen Sharma and Bipasha Basu. The film was set in Meerut, a town in Western Uttar Pradesh. The film claimed huge success at the Box office.


Othello is one of the most revered plays in the world, and performed in every country where theatre is alive and kicking. Bharadwaj localized the play by using themes like caste and discrimination, and fusing them with universal Shakespearean themes like greed and envy.

9- Lootera (2013)

Lootera is a 2013 period romantic drama film directed by Vikramaditya Motwane. It was based on author O. Henry’s 1907 short story “The Last Leaf???. It was set in the period of 1950s. The film stars Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha in lead roles. Lootera released to worldwide critical acclaim on 5 July 2013. It was counted as one of the best movies of the year 2013.


The Last Leaf was written by O.Henry, considered a master of the short story genre. His stories adopt a humorous lens to look at the underbelly of society – thieves, prisons, little schemes, and twists in the tale.

10- Haider (2014)

Haider is a 2014 crime drama film directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. The film is a contemporary take on William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Hamlet???. It’s set amidst the insurgency-hit Kashmir conflicts of 1995 and civilian disappearances. Haider, a young student and a poet, returns to Kashmir at the peak of the conflict to seek answers about his father’s disappearance and ends up being hauled into the politics of the state.


Haider is the third installment of Bhardwaj’s Shakespearean trilogy after Maqbool (2003) and Omkara (2006). It stars Shahid Kapoor as the titular protagonist, and co-stars Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor and Kay Kay Menon. And an important role played by Irrfan Khan who appears in an extended special appearance.