Why Bollywood is making movies based on books


The past year has seen more and more books being turned into movies or web series. Examples include Raazi inspired by the book Calling Sehmat or Sacred Games based on Vikram Chandra’s novel.

Furthermore, several upcoming films including Aamir Khan’s Thugs of Hindostan [based on 1839 novel Confessions of a Thug by Philip Meadows Taylor] and Sonam Kapoor’s The Zoya Factor [penned by author Anuja Chauhan] are also based on books.

Hindustan Times, in an article, explored why this trend has been gaining traction over the past few years.

Harinder Sikka, author of Calling Sehmat, on this commented, “There’s a shortage of good content in the film industry and the same formulas have stopped working. People want a ready-made solution, and now production houses have realised that people want good content.”

On the same, author of The Zoya Factor Anuja Chauhan feels that apart from the big screen, there are so many digital entertainment platforms and that leads to a huge demand for good stories.

“Turning a book into a film or web series means half the work is done already. All that they need to do is make the story crisper, take the best parts and present it to the audience over the span of two-and-a-half hours,” she said adding that this helps the writer get more readership.

Meanwhile, notable film trade analyst Komal Nahta says, “It’s been going on in Hollywood for ages, and even in Bollywood, there were a lot of adaptations earlier and all of them were silver jubilee hits. However, it became fewer in between, but now it’s coming back. Although, it’s not a sure shot formula for a successful film, it at least gives you a ready-made story.”

Agreeing with Nahta, Raazi‘s director Meghna Gulzar said that as film-makers  they look for good content, “be it literature, folklore, and history.”

She continued, “I think whatever makes the cinematic experience richer is good source. My experience tells me when the content is good and the intent is right, the audience picks up the movie very well.”

However, Sidharth Jain, who runs a book-to-screen adaptation company that helps producers find books that can be adapted, says, “In search of premium content, a lot more conversions are happening now. Just buying the rights of the book is not enough, as for over-the-top platforms you need high engagement.

“Although you get a ready-made story line, but good books don’t always make for good movies,” he concluded.