A Close Look at How India’s Classic Literature Impact the Movie Industry

Indian literature first took form in as far back as 1500 Before the Common Era (BCE) as canonical Hindu sacred writings written in Sanskrit, amd were called Veda. It was only during the 19th century British colonization that Western literature began to have an influence in Indian literature.

Still, Sanskrit literature it an important part of Indian culture, which reached the pinnacle of development in the 7th centuries of the Common Era (CE). Aside from the sacred writings, Sanskrit literature also produced philosophical writings, romantic and erotic lyrics, narrative folktales, court poetry and plays. Novels and short stories came around after Indian writers adopted the Englisj literature established in the British colony. Yet this was also the beginning when Indian writers took interest in writing about social and psychological matters and issues.


The most famous and beloved of all is Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” which up to this day has been used by Western movie makers. Even in India’s Bollywood filmdom, movie making sometimes fall back on Indian literature as source of stories to present to the country’s millions of movie enthusiasts via the silver screen.

However, transforming a literary work into a movie is a daunting task for filmmakers, especially when adapting descriptions into cinematic dialogues. Often times, book lovers argue that the movie lacks the substance that makes the novel worth reading, On the other hand, most movie fans prefer to see actors in actions rather than watch them exchange lengthy dialogues.

Nevertheless, there are several award-winning movies based on Indian literary classics and produced by Indian filmmakers that earned prestigious recognitions and accolades. Ritwik Ghatak, Shyam Benega, Satyajit Ray smf Mrinal Sen sre some examples of filmmakers who gave justice to a literary story in its movie adaptation.


Best Examples of Classic Indian Literature Transformed into a Movie


Pinjar is by far the best example of literary work contributed by poet and author Amrita Pritam, which was adapted into a movie with the same title. Here, Pritam tells the story of the hardships et during India’s partition, Pinjar is one of the most acclaimed works by the Indian poet and author,. It describes the hardships that rural Indian women go through while bound to the strict laws of the society to which they belong. Pinjar, the movie was directed by Chandra Prakash Dwivedi, and won the National Award for Best Feature Film after its release in 2003.

The Blue Umbrella

This is a 1980 novel written by author Ruskin Bond, directed by Vishal Bharadwaj, whose success in directing the film earned recognition as the Best Children’s Film of the National Film Awards. It;s a simple story about a little girl, whose blue umbrella coveted by a local shopkeeper who went as far as trying to steal the umbrella. The ploy earned the shopkeeper a bad reputation among the village folks, the little girl felt bad for the shopkeeper, she decided to give the blue umbrella to the latter.

Are Movie Adaptations of Classic Literature Crowd-Drawers in India?

The reality however, is that adaptations of classic novels are not as popular as those depicting conflicts, including between Indians and Pakistanis, and a superhero to the rescue of some damsel in distress. Indians love this kind of stories that enthusiasts eagerly await the next installments. Take for example the immensely famous Baaghi, whose third sequel Baaghi 3, was released in 2020. A review from Movierulz, described Baaghi 3 as lacking intellectual depth, yet fans are eagerly anticipating a Baaghi 4 sequel any time soon.