Film Adaptations; from Novels to Cinema

Film Adaptations; from Novels to Cinema


by Diya Batra

Literature and Cinema have been and continue to be the greatest mass mediums. Both of the mediums have their own way of conveying and transferring messages and ideas to a specific target audience. Due to the convergence of media on the rise, media content and information has become easily conjugated. One such convergence of mediums has taken place between print and cinema. The number of book adaptions hitting cinemas and tv shows seem to increase every year. The directors commonly use a popular novel as the basis of a film or a tv show as a whole or some part of it. But widespread books being adapted into movies does not always turn out be successful. Film adaptations come along with a lot of drawbacks and potholes which are difficult to fill. The way the author of Novel explains each and every event in the book in a detailed manner and pays attention to various scenarios often lacks in the case of movies. Due to which the expectations set by avid readers from the film is often unfulfilled. The relationship we have with a book is special and personal as we are able to connect with it at a psychological level. Whereas, in the case of movies our relationship with it is more passive, more distanced as it demands less of us. Several times the actors are not able to play those parts and do justice. Because every reader perceives the characters in different ways. Which often bring fewer viewers, being unfavourable for the media business.

Hollywood References

Some of the famous Hollywood films adapted from novels include Life of Pi, Jurassic Park, and The Da Vinci Code, Inferno both of them being adapted by Dan Brown’s famous novels.

Life of Pi and Jurassic Park were appreciated by the mass audience. But, there were incomplete scenes and false display of characters which were pointed out by the audience in comparison to the books read by them. In the case of Life of Pi, some people found some sections of the book very slow and boring with no action. They considered the plot be to be very unrealistic as the tiger would have eaten Pi straight away. Whereas, many of them enjoyed the great visuals the movie has to offer while showcasing the amazing bond between the tiger and the Pi. Few appreciated the book more as they taught them about animal psychology chapter by chapter.

On the other, the first two parts of Jurassic Park were solely based on books and the third part elevated action and some part of the book which didn’t make it to the previous films. All the 5 parts of the films were enjoyed and cherished by the viewers.  Although, the majority of the people complained about missing or incomplete scenes but ending in the book is much less friendly as compared to ending portrayed in the movie wherein the characters are taken to their safety spot in the helicopter.

Also, Alan Grant played by Sam Neill in Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III shared a special bond with kids and had a strong affection towards them especially the ones who showed interest in Dinosaurs. But there was a major contrast in his character shown in the film.

Bollywood References

2 states, 3 idiots( adapted from Chetan Bhagat’s novels), Kai Po Che, 7 Khoon Maaf, Haider( from Shakespeare’s Hamlet) Raazi (from Harinder Sikka’s book named Sehmat and many other Bollywood films have been adapted from novels from well- known authors.

Recently, the audience criticised the film Sanju- one man many lives for showcasing false and incomplete scenes that happened in the Actor Sanjay Dutt’s life as compared to the book The crazy untold story of Bollywood’s bad boy by Yaseer Usmaan. The audience considered that the movie didn’t show the real and dark side of the Actors life and tried to whitewash his image.

The movies adapted from Chetan Bhagat’s book did well in the cinemas as Readers consider his writings lacking imagination, low intellectual level and not so interesting characters.

In my opinion, the book which got adapted into a movie and I thoroughly enjoyed is ‘The Book Thief’. The Book Thief is a 2005 historical novel by Australian author Markus Zusak. The story revolves around the girl named Liesel. After the death of Liesel’s young brother on a train to Molching, Liesel arrives at the home of her new foster parents where she is exposed to horrors of Nazi. Where Hans, her father developed a close relationship with her and teaches her to read, first in her bedroom, then in the basement. Due to which she eventually recognizes the power of writing and sharing the written word, she not only begins to steal books that the Nazi party is looking to destroy but also writes her own story. I personally relished the book more than the movie because according to me it focuses more on character development. The movie itself was pleasurable to watch as it provided me with great visuals of what I have already read which made it more lifelike. But, there was a number of characters which were missing out the movie which made me feel like it was incomplete at some points. The novel is of 522 pages which ultimately make the directors draw out a lot of valuable details which one cannot fit in a two-hour movie.

In her basement, she is hiding a Jew, Max. There is a lot more talked about Max’s past and present and his dreams of boxing Hitler in the book as compared to the movie. The movie can stand on its own, but it loses some depth from the elegantly written book. The emotions conveyed in the book are highly strong as it takes place during World War II. In the book, Hans is forced to join the war effort as punishment after giving a piece of bread to a starving Jew being marched through the small town. This act of civilization is unparalleled in the movie. Hence, there is more of the story in the book in general.

As a nation which benefits as much as possible from the motion pictures on the planet, we require better Movies substance. What’s more, our desire in future is to have better adaptions or more every one of the executions. Not asking for much. Signing off


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