Movies Worldwide Can’t Get Enough Shakespeare. The universality of the playwright’s work allows any culture to adapt Shakespeare’s work to its own socio-cinematographic universe. Bollywood and Shakespeare are perfect for their melodramatic and hyper-expressive way of approaching complex characters and their motivations.
Romeo and Juliet in particular has interested several filmmakers because the societal realities of India coincide perfectly with the conflicts in the play of two lovers from rival families risking their lives in the name of love. However, it was Vishal Bharadwaj’s trilogy viz. Maqbool, Omkara And Haider which did justice to the works of Shakespeare channeled through the Bollywood ethos. Here are 10 times Bollywood tried to adapt the works of Shakespeare and succeeded, for the most part.
maqbool, directed by Vishal Bharadwaj, is the adaptation of macbeth and is the first film in its trilogy of Shakespearean adaptations. The film is set in the underworld of Mumbai as Macbeth’s bloodbath grips its characters. Pankaj Kapoor plays Jahangir Khan who is the head of the crime ring in Mumbai. Irrfan Khan plays Maqbool who is Khan’s son and loyal to his father.
However, Maqbool falls in love with his father’s mistress, Nimmi, who brainwashes him into overthrowing his father’s power. As happens in the play with Macbeth, Maqbool is manipulated by his wife into taking multiple lives, including his father’s, to claim power. However, Maqbool and Nimmi lose their peace of mind after being haunted by the lives they have taken. Nimmi was played by Tabu who won acclaim for her performance for creating the Lady Macbeth archetype in Maqbool.
Omkara, directed by Vishal Bharadwaj, is an adaptation of Othello, which is the second film in the director’s trilogy of Shakespearean adaptations. The film is a crime drama set in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh India. Ajay Devgan plays Omkara who is a bandit and a mestizo in love with Dolly Mishra. He takes her away from her family. His right-hand man Langda Tyagi, played by Saif Ali Khan, gives him a hard time for not promoting him and poses a threat to Omkara, Dolly and his gang of bandits.
The film is considered the best of the trilogy by critics and even performed well internationally, primarily in the UK, Australia, South Africa, and the United States. The film was praised for its music, cinematography, and handling of its dark themes. Rarely do Bollywood films depict the darker societal realities, as most Bollywood films are designed as feel-good films suitable for family viewing. However, Omkara was applauded for being praised for his choice not to tone down his depiction of caste violence and atrocities in the film.
Haider, directed by Vishal Bharadwaj, is a crime thriller which is an adaptation of Hamlet set against the backdrop of the conflicts in Kashmir in 1995. The film is the third part of the director’s trilogy inspired by Shakespeare, after maqbool And Omkara. The director also based the film on the memoir of Basharat Peer Curfew, which is a first-hand account of Peer’s experience during the Kashmir insurgency. The film stars Shahid Kapoor as Haider who returns to Kashmir and discovers his mother is having an affair with a man suspected of murdering his father. The film is known to be one of Kapoor’s best performances as it depicts how Haider loses his mind amid his personal disputes with his mother and political unrest in Kashmir.
Several scenes, including Hamlet holding Yorick’s skull and the to be or not to be speeches, have been adapted into the context of the film, which has been hailed as one of Shakespeare’s finest Bollywood adaptations.
7 Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela
Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, is an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, with Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in the lead roles. The film is set in Rajasthan in western India and follows courtship between Ram and Leela who belong to families that disagree. Lust and passion overwhelm the lovers as they head towards a dangerous end to their relationship, their family and their own lives.
Bhansali is known for its elaborate set design, choreography, charged dialogues and musical direction composed by Bhansali himself. His films are mostly costume dramas and Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela is no different, which makes his film a sight to behold. The film received acclaim for Padukone’s performance and the choreography of the dance numbers.
6 Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, directed by Mansoor Khan, is another adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and also incorporated Indian folk stories similar to Romeo and Juliet as Heer Ranjha And Laila Majnoun The film stars Aamir Khan as Raj Singh, who falls in love with Rashmi Rajput, but they cannot get married as their families disapprove of each other. The couple decide to run away and start a new life, however, their families are after their lives and try to break up their relationship.
The film has gained cult status in Bollywood for its romantic themes and appeals to young audiences. Asking for parental approval for marriage is a norm in India and marrying someone his family disapproves of is a societal issue that made the film popular among young people, making Khan an idol and one of the most popular actors. popular in India to this day.
Ishaqzaad, directed by Habib Faisal, is an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet with Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra in the lead roles. The film is set in Uttar Pradesh, where Parma and Zoya fall in love but cannot marry due to the difference in caste and religion.
The film tackles the issues of premarital sex, honor killings and caste discrimination that plague Indian society, especially in Uttar Pradesh. The couple flee but are unable to find safety as their family’s proximity to political parties and crime threatens their lives. The film received acclaim for its music, and Chopra received the national award for her performance. The film was also praised for showing the lives of sex workers in a sensitive way.
Grapes, directed by popular lyricist Gulzar, is an adaptation of Shakespeare The comedy of errors. The film stars Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma in dual roles as the characters meet in the same place, creating chaos and confusion in the comedy of mistaken identity.
The film is a remake by Bhranti Bilas which was also adapted from the same play. The film follows Ashok, played by Kumar, and Bahadur, played by Verma. Both have identical twins of the same name and were separated at birth. When the two Ashoks and the two Bahadurs finally meet as adults, everything goes haywire in the family as they all have eccentric personalities. comedy of errors is known for his slapstick humor, puns and puns, which are skillfully adapted into the film and remain a vintage Bollywood cult classic.
isaac, directed by Manish Tiwary, is another adaptation of Romeo and Juliet located in northern India. The film stars Prateilk Babbar as Rahul Mishra and Amyra Dastur as Bacchi Kashyap who belong to the rival land mafia families in Banaras, Uttar Pradesh but fall in love. The film is an action drama rather than a tragic romance, as the film mainly focuses on the violence surrounding the couple rather than the romance between the two. The film did not perform well at the box office for being inflated in its trope and having a predictable plot. After all, most Shakespearean adaptations of Romeo and Juliet end the same way.
2 10ml Love
10ml Lovedirected by Sharat Katariya, is the Bollywood adaptation of Dream of a summer night with Rajat Kapoor, Tisca Chopra, Purab Kohli and Neil Bhoopanam. The play is a comedy that revolves around a couple obsessed with beauty. There’s a magical realism at play when couples end up falling in love with their respective partners.
Similarly, in the movie, Peter and Shweta are in love with each other, but due to circumstances they cannot get married. Shweta plans to sue Neil for marriage when he falls in love with Minnie. On the other hand, Ghalib and Roshni also have their own marriage issues. The two couples find themselves in a forest and a love quadrangle develops between the four, only creating more chaos in their lives. This debut Katariya film did not do well at the box office for its half-baked characters and disappointing script. However, it has proven itself with Dum Laga Ke Haisa three years later.
1 Police officer
Police officerdirected by Raj Kapoor, is loosely based on Romeo and Juliet and was released in 1973. Rishi Kapoor plays Raja, the son of a wealthy Hindu businessman who falls in love with Bobby, a girl from a poor Catholic family. Their families are against their relationship due to their religious and class differences. However, unlike the play and several other films based on the play, the film ends with the families reconciling and encouraging the couple to continue their relationship. The film was ahead of its time in many ways and became a cult classic. The film even became a template for several films released later, which had a similar context to the rich-poor dynamic in teenage couples.
Police officer also became a blockbuster in the Soviet Union, attracting 62.6 million viewers.
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