Five times film-makers adapted and shared their story

Writing a book and writing a screenplay is completely different, both in-process and experience. A book can take many forms of narrations and story-telling styles while a screenplay is driven by plot points. There are certain limitations with adapting a book into a movie, one for example, being that while reading a book, each individual reader conjures up a universe of their own and their imagination knows no bounds but when adapted into movie, the film-maker reels in the reigns and presents the audience with their interpretation of that world, this is one of the reason why some great books do not turn out to be phenomenal movie. Stephen King rightly said, “Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruits but they taste completely different”.

Let’s look at movies adapted from best-selling novels that intrigued and inspired an entire generation and at the same time, widened our perspective and gave us an all new outlook.


1. Harry Potter

A book that broke barriers and resonated with children and adults across the globe. Written by J.K. Rowling, it took her 17 years to pen the seven-part book, which became a raging success from the first print run of the book. When adapted into a movie, it became the first adaptation of a book that garnered <insert revenues of the movie>, the perfect example of how a book inspired the making of its movie. Beyond the story of wizardry and witchcraft, the story explores childhood confusion, dangers and (mis)adventures. It is a contemporary moral fable about good and evil, happiness and sadness, life and death. The book is inspired by incidents in Rowling’s life – growing up with a single mother who struggled with Multiple Sclerosis and losing her mother at young age, led to her exploring the loss of parents in the book. Her struggle with depression and the help she got find its way into the book in the form of dementors. Her love for English classics laid the foundation for naming of the spells in the book.


2. 3 Idiots

Inspired by the Chetan Bhagat’s debut novel book ‘Five Point Someone’ the story revolves around three engineering students at India’s prestigious university and chronicles their struggles, challenges and their growth. While the screenplay adaptation of the movie, veers slightly away from the book, the core remains the same. It deals with the pressures of society and the stigmatization of professional choices. The movie places emphasis on pursuing excellence instead of success and allows youngsters the opportunity to follow their passion and make the most of life. Their portrayal of college and hostel life, is slice of life and portrays the bonds that go onto define who we become.


3. The Devil Wears Prada

Adapted from the book by the same written by Lauren Weisberger, chronicles the life of a young girl who becomes the personal assistant to the Editor of one of New York’s bestselling fashion magazine and how she copes with the demeaning demands of her boss while she learns the ropes of the fashion industry. The movie sparked speculation on the fact that editor’s role was based on the iconic Anna Wintour as Weisberg prior to writing this novel worked at Vogue USA as Ms. Wintour’s personal assistant. The movie looks at unnatural beauty standards that is part of the media industry, and pressures of the job that take up personal time leaving one to relegate friends and family to the background.


4. The Godfather

Adapted from Mario Puzo’s bestseller of the same name, Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone is one of cinema’s most celebrated figures and the character is inspired by real life gangsters – Frank Costello of the Genovese family and Carlo Gambino of the Gambino family. The movie focuses on the life of a gangster and his family. Vito Corleone is a calm, temperamental man who is revered by the others. He is protective of his family and those who see help from him and can be ruthless to those who have crossed his loved ones. An emerging rival gang finds an opportune moment to assassinate Vito, causing a huge gang war and leading both his children to take on the life of crime and protect family honour. Many of The Godfather’s true stories are reworked so as to not be immediately recognizable, but the real-world influence can certainly be felt. This sense of realism perhaps even aids in making both versions of the story feel grounded, visceral and foreboding at all the appropriate junctures.


5. Silence of the Lambs

Written by Thomas Harris ‘Silence of the Lambs’ is inspired by the time the author of the book consulted with the FBI. While the story is fictional, his research is based on the serial killers BSU researched and the profilers in that unit. The premise of the movie is a rook profiler named Clarise Sterling who is hunting a serial killer named Buffalo Bill based on the information she receives from a jailed serial killer Hannibal Lector. Buffalo Bill’s character was based on Ed Gein, who was a serial killer in the 1950s and his motive to kill was to collect women’s skin. The movie revolves around the crimes of Buffalo Bill and explores the psyche of a serial killer.

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