Bardic Influence | Verve Magazine
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Screen + Sound + Stage
September 01, 2014

Bardic Influence

Text by Nittal Chandarana

Where there’s book adaptations, Shakespeare always steals his way into the picture…

  • Haider, Hamlet, William Shakespeare, Bardic Influence, Vishal Bharadwaj
  • 10 Things I Hate About You, William Shakespeare, Bardic Influence, The Taming of the Shrew
  • She's the Man, Bardic Influence, William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
  • Maqbool, Macbeth, Bardic Influence, William Shakespeare, Vishal Bharadwaj
  • Angoor, Bardic Influence, The Comedy of Errors, William Shakespeare

Book adaptations are at an all time high. Think of any movie you have truly enjoyed where you’ve been blown away by the script. Fight Club? Check. The Fault in Our Stars? Check. Omkara? Check. There’s a special place reserved for Bardic adaptations because then, there exists a world where Leonardo Dicaprio is Romeo and Al Pacino – Shylock. There’s a reason why Angoor, 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s The Man, Maqbool and Haider can be mentioned in the same breath. They’re clever adaptations of William Shakespeare’s excellent work.

1. Angoor (1982): The film is written and directed by Gulzar (with a little help from Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors) which makes it a cult film anyway. Two sets of identical twins, separated at birth, having the same name (because that’s how we roll) meet as adults and a whirlwind of chaos transpires.

2. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999): There’s Heath ledger. And Julia Stiles. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Adapted from The Taming of the Shrew, this one catapulted the actors to instant stardom. A huge hit, everyone felt suitably intelligent enjoying a watered-down version of the stuff they despised reading in school. Watch out for Stiles’ recitation of the 10 Things… poem. Worthy of waterworks.

3. Maqbool (2003): The first installment in Vishal Bharadwaj’s Shakespeare trilogy, Maqbool is set in Mumbai and focuses on its underworld link. Drawing inspiration from Macbeth, this film won the director immense critical acclaim. Plus there is that added attraction of a cast of veteran actors.

4. She’s the Man (2006): Viola goes to her twin Sebastian’s school, masquerading as him to grab a place on the football team. She falls for Duke, a handsome striker and her roommate. Throw in a beautiful Olivia who Duke covets and a hilarious climax with Viola’s identity revealed and you have a cutesy teenage rom-com. Many say that the Bard’s comedy (Twelfth Night) is lost in translation but we love the drama!

5. Haider (2014): Releasing in October, this one completes Bharadwaj’s trilogy. Theatre has had a fair amount of fun adapting Hamlet into whacky productions and we’re waiting to see what the silver screen presents.

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