Shakespeare's Bollywood connection

Monday, 7 April 2014 - 7:10am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

April 23 will mark the 450th birth anniversary of William Shakespeare. On the occasion we look at Bard's tryst with tinsel town

The world of Shakespeare has fascinated Bollywood filmmakers over the ages and has even inspired them to adapt his works for the desi audience. Through the ages Bard's works have come alive on the big screen in different avatars, whether it's an adaptation of Othello to Omkara, a rustic tale of crime and passion or a laugh riot as evident in Angoor, a classic based on Shakespeare's Comedy Of Errors or an intense and tragic story Macbeth retold as Maqbool. Shakepeare's works have a universal draw and there in probably lies its appeal, resulting in different interpretations and adaptation of his works.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

This popular dialogue from Bard's Romeo and Juliet probably best describes the attempts to make different flicks in various languages inspired by this romantic and tragic love story. Here's a look at Bollywood flicks inspired by Bards works, to mark his 450th birth anniversary.

Romeo And Juliet

Most recently, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's twist to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet got him a box-office success. Bhansali like many others before him has turned to Bard's tragic love story for inspiration and found success. Ram Leela joins a list of hitmakers that went on to win accolades and raked in big money at the box office.

Most memorable Romeo and Juliet adaptations in Bollywood

1) Bobby (1973)

Directed by Raj Kapoor

Star-crossed lovers played by Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia

Created history because It introduced audiences to one of India's most beloved screen pairs, Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia. It redefined the way people understood romance and turned the notion that love can happen only when you are older and mature upside down to introduce a new idea that even adolescents can fall in head over heels in love. The film went on to become a huge hit.

2) Love Story (1981)

Directed by Rahul Rawail

Star-crossed lovers played by Kumar Gaurav and Vijeta Pandit

Created history because The film became a blockbuster making Kumar Gaurav a star overnight.

3) Ek Duuje ke Liye (1981)

Directed by K Balachander

Star-crossed lovers played by Kamal Haasan and Rati Agnihotri

Created history because when the film released, many couples faced with parental opposition committed suicide, just like the couple did in the film. It also marked the debut of two stars from South India in Hindi films - the leading lady Rati and playback singer SP Balasubrahmanya

4) Sanam Teri Kasam (1982)

Directed by Narender Bedi

Star-crossed lovers played by Kamal Haasan and Reena Roy

Created history because of its music that proved to be an instant hit.

5) Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988)

Directed by Mansoor Khan

Star-crossed lovers played by Aamir Khan, and Juhi Chawla

Created history because it gave Bollywood another much loved romantic pair, launching the careers of Aamir and Juhi who went on to do many other romantic flicks together.

6) Saudagar (1991)

Directed by Subhash Ghai

Star-crossed lovers played by Vivek Mushran and Manisha Koirala

Created history because It brought Dilip Kumar and Raaj Kumar, two Bollywood legends together in the same film, and also introduced Manisha.

While the above list of movies includes flicks that went on to become big hits, there are others who failed to strike gold despite creating a lot of buzz. Ishaqzaade (2012), directed by Habib Faisal got the lead pair Arjun Kapoor, and Parineeti Chopra into the limelight, but failed to work at the box office, while Issaq (2013), a film directed by Manish Tiwary just fizzled out.

Shakespearean plays that made it as Bollywood flicks

Zalim Saudagar (1941): JJ Madan had adapted Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice for his film starring Jahan Ara.
Angoor (1982): Gulzar's classic was based on Shakespeare's Comedy Of Errors.
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988): The film was believed to be inspired by the hit play, Romeo And Juliet.

Bhardwaj's fascination for Bard

Bhardwaj probably has the most number of films which have been adapted from Shakepeare's works.

The list includes his yet to be released flick Haider starring Shahid Kapoor which is an adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Maqbool (2004) Irrfan-Tabu starrer hit, which is Bhardwaj's take on Mcbeth and Omkara (2006) which is an adaptation of Othello starring with Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor..

As evident above, while Shakespeare may have literally and figuratively exited the world stage, he continues to live on through his works.

Most popular Hollywood adaptations of R & J

Romeo and Juliet (1936) was one of the earliest film adaptations and is considered to be the most faithful to the play!

Romeo and Juliet (1968) was the most financially successful film of a Shakespeare play during its time! Director Franco Zeffirelli's adaptation was not only known for its actors, but also the music by Henry Hancini!

Romeo + Juliet (1996) In director Baz Luhrmann's contemporary take on William Shakespeare's famous play Shakespearean language is used even as the play is set in contemporary times.

West Side Story (1961), 10 time Academy Award winner, remains the most iconic Shakespeare adaptations to visit the big screen!

And while Shakespeare may have literally left the stage, he continues to live through his works.

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