watchings of idle hours #3 : books vs. movie adaptations

There would be, perhaps, half a dozen movies for which I must have read the original book either after or before I saw the movie. Of course, unlike the Hollywood ones the Bollywood productions have been disappointing.

Gone with the Wind

In case of Gone with the Wind, first I saw the movie, for the first time some twenty five years back. By that time this 1939 movie had already become a classic. I read the lengthy novel  afterwords. Contrary to what I had thought the fact that I had already watched the movie did not diminish my interest in the novel. Maybe, had I not watched the movie  I would not have read the novel. It won 10 academy awards and is considered one of the all time greatest movies of Hollywood.

Unlike the Bollywood movies based on  Chetan Bhagat books, this  movie is not a loose adaptation of the novel. The professionalism displayed by everyone connected with the movie is remarkable.  One can experience all the flavours of this 1000 odd page novel in the four hour movie. I watched the movie (DVD) for the second time a couple of months back.  It is worth mentioning that ‘Gone with the Wind’ is the only novel written by Margaret Mitchell in her life time.

Silence of the Lambs

In this case, I read the novel first. In an earlier post on this blog titled A Gripping Tale,  I have written about my reading experience and how I came across the book. I had read the book before the movie was released. Hence I was curious to see how the movie was adapted. I was not disappointed.

Elementary, my dear Watson

Being a Sherlock Holmes fan since childhood, it was logical that I should not have missed the 2009 movie ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and the sequel ‘Sherlock Holmes-  a game of shadows” released in 2011. Robert Downey Jr. has played the eccentric detective perfectly with befitting support from Jude Law as Dr. Watson.

Earlier, I remember watching a number of BBC serials  based on the Sherlock Holmes stories. Even though my memories are vague, I don’t think the serials were as interesting as the books.

Now a days many adaptations of Sherlock Holmes are run as serials on various channels, a Chinese lady passing for Dr. Watson in one version that I saw. It is titled Elementary. With Guinness book of records listing Holmes as the most portrayed movie character, it has become difficult to keep track of the various spin off versions of Holmes.

Tales from Malgudi

R K Narayan was himself disappointed when he saw the movie ‘Guide’.  Narayan’s Guide had to undergo necessary improvisation to fit into the Bollywood version with necessary songs and dance and the usual tadka.

But, the serials produced by Kannada actor and director Shankar Nag brought in all the nuances of RK Narayan’s stories. It is still a pleasure to catch up with one odd episode of Malgudi Days telecast on good Old Doordarshan from time to time.

8 thoughts on “watchings of idle hours #3 : books vs. movie adaptations

  1. I loved reading the silence of the lamb, and out of curiosity I did watch certain scenes on YouTube to see how Mr. Lecter looked and acted like. But I had dissappoimments with his acting. I have always found Lecter to be a tad sophisticated and matured than what was portrayed in the movie scene. Although I cannot judge the entire movie based on that little scene of jail break.

    I haven’t read the book based on Swamy and his friends apart from what was already in our course curriculum in school. I should probably have a read to feel the nostalgia and a better understanding of the characters. But I still have fond memories of the TV series. Such wonderful and raw acting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Gone With the Wind’ is a worthy adaptation. I have read the book twice, watched the movie maybe four times, am ready for more, preferably the book. I was deeply disappointed by the movie called ‘Guide’. As for Sherlock Holmes, nothing beats the books.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never read Malgudi days, but loved the adapted series. Sherlock has been adapted so many times and in so many ways– but the book’s tone is wonderful and captivating in a way none of the movies/ series have managed.


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