5 Adaptations of Shakespeare’s classics

5 Adaptations of Shakespeare’s classics

5 Adaptations of Shakespeare’s classics

by January 14, 2015

William Shakespeare, the father of English Literature and the inspirational model for millions, gave a beautiful yet new definition to the entire genre of drama. In fact not just the common man and the lovers of English Literature, most of the Bollywood filmmakers, also feel obliged to him for bringing forth unconceivable plots.

With so many novels, thus written, the Bollywood too projects many Shakespeare’s best written works. So, to help you out to know which are these best adapted “Shakespearean” Bollywood movie, here is a brief yet comprehensive list.

The Tragedy of Macbeth as “Maqbool”


Vishal Bhardwaj has been often considered as one of the best directors and this notion became all the more perfect with his 2004 release, Maqbool. This adaptation of the classic Macbeth was first released in 2003 in the popular Toronto International Film Festival. Although it didn’t gain a lot of attention from the Indian masses, the film has bagged great appreciations from many critics. Not only it helped Vishal Bhardwaj to attain international acclaim but has also helped its actors Pankaj Kapoor, playing the role of King Duncan, or Jahangir Khan, with a Filmfare award for Best Actor (Critics) along with helping him to get a National Film Award for being the Best Supporting Actor. Although the film doesn’t portray any kind of unreal creatures like the Three Weird Sisters, it has two similar, corrupt policemen, played by Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah, who help in anticipating that Maqbool or Irfaan Khan would soon take over Abba Ji (Pankaj Kapoor). The role of Macbeth’s alter-ego, is seen to be presented by Nimmi, played by Tabu. The classic presentation including scenes wherein Maqbool is unable to wash his blood-stained hands and the Abba ji’s ghost reflect how Bhardwaj has followed Shakespeare’s Macbeth to the core.

The Tragedy of Othello as “Omkara”



With the critical success of the Maqbool, Bhardwaj goes a step further to produce the Indian version of Othello as Omkara, starring Ajay Devgan as Omkara, Kareena Kapur Khan as Desdemona, Saif Ali Khan as Iago and Vivek Oberoi as Cassio. To keep in accordance with presented moor’s looks in the classic drama, Bhardwaj has aptly chosen Ajay Devgan, who seems to have no competitor in this respect. Like Maqbool, this 155 minutes film has helped it bag a couple of prestigious awards. The introduction of the Kamarbandh, which was carelessly misplaced and dropped by Dolly (Kareena Kapur Khan) symbolizes Desdemona’s handkerchief. The plot of Langda Tyagi (Saif Ali Khan) to brainwash Omkara’s head in believing that his wife Dolly is having an illicit affair with Kesu (Vivek Oberoi) has been carved out with pure perfection.

The Tragedy of Hamlet or “Haider”


One of the most popular Bhardwaj’s films of the 2014, Haider speaks about the director’s continuing success of proving masterpieces. Played by Shahid Kapur as “Hamlet”, Bhardwaj successfully chalked out not only his talent of producing quality films, but also reflected that Shahid Kapur is no less than a real actor. Released on 2nd October, this film also portrays 1995 Kashmir conflicts. Also featuring Tabu as Gertrude with the role of Ghazal, Kay Kay Menon as Haider’s paternal uncle, named as Khurram, Shraddha Kapoor as Ophelia, along with many others, this film like Bhardwaj’s previous films, gained a lot of appreciation both from the modern Indian masses and from the critics.

Romeo and Juliet as “Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak”


Happy ending love stories had always been a norm of Bollywood, but with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, officially released in 1988, the Indian audiences got a classic yet “Masala” filled version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet hailing true love above anything. Featuring Bollywood’s perfectionist Aamir Khan with Juhi Chawla, the film also reflects the sad issue of Honour Killings that is sadly a common issue in India.

Comedy of Errors as “Angoor”


While it is exactly based on Comedy of Errors, Angoor can be said to be an adapted version it. This Indian 1982 comedy movie starring Sanjeev Kumaar, Deven Verma and Moushumi Chatterjee, is based on the Bengali “Bhrantibilaas” which is itself an adaptation of Comedy of Errors. Maintaining the classic twin’s separation plot, Angoor presents a humour which is innocent yet classic.

Not only each of these movies present the mastermind of Shakespeare but also reflect the art and the talent of Indian directors who leave no stone unturned to appeal the masses along with maintaining the Shakespearean decorum.