For a writer to have, according to the Guinness Book of Records, 410 feature films and television plays attributed to him, is an amazing feat indeed — especially if he was born centuries before the camera was even invented.
William Shakespeare is the man who has this singular honor, and there’s no sign his influence is disappearing any time soon.
April is Shakespeare’s birthday month, and The Bard is being celebrated across the world as an eternal word-wizard. Like Hollywood cinema, filmmakers in Asia too have borrowed heavily from the playwright, and many Bollywood films are based on tales from Shakespeare, including:
Angoor – The best-known Hindi adaptation of The Comedy of Errors – it’s a hilarious film based on mistaken identity featuring two sets of twins. The 1975 film won actor Deven Varma the Filmfare Award for Best Comedian. Sanjeev Kumar played the dual role of the other set of twin brothers.
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. The 1988 film that started the title abbreviation trend, is also famous as QSQT. Starring Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla, it’s a saga of family feuds, based on Shakespeare’s immortal play about star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet.
Maqbool. The first of director Vishal Bhardwaj’s trilogy based on Shakespeare’s plays, Maqbool is a dark drama inspired by Macbeth. Set in Mumbai’s criminal underworld, the 2003 film featured actors Pankaj Kapoor, who landed the Best Actor award for his performance, as well as Naseeruddin Shah, Irrfan Khan, and Tabu.
Omkara. A crime drama based on Othello, the 2006 release earned critical acclaim in India and worldwide, as well as becoming a high-grossing commercial success. The Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer won three National Awards and seven Filmfare Awards.
Haider. Set in the strife-ridden valley of Kashmir, the 2014 film was hailed by critics as Shahid Kapoor’s most powerful performance to date. An adaptation of Hamlet, Haider is a gripping emotional drama which also features Irrfan Khan, Tabu and Shraddha Kapoor in supporting roles.