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Adaptations Gone Wrong

July 6, 2010

The prospect of watching a movie based on one’s favorite or bestselling book is quite exciting. However, the truth is that majority of these movies fail to deliver. One reason is that it is never easy to encapsulate a novel into two hours movie. Many a times the script writers fail to grasp the essence of the story or take several unimpressive cinematic liberties. It is also disappointing to see many details being skipped just due to time constraint. Despite knowing all these factor, I usually end up watching movies adapted from the novels.

Here are some of the movies based on novels that I didn’t like much:

Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera is one of the prominent works of Garcia. It is hard to escape the magical realism that novel offers. Any one who isn’t scared of taking a dive into the deluge of words and is ready to give different themes a try would definitely like it. I did read it on recommendation and loved it for the sheer beauty of Garcia’s writing. This novel has been adapted into a movie. After reading the book which transports you into some other world and time, the movie seemed a total disappointment.

The good thing about reading is that as you read you begin building your own imagination about protagonists’ looks and demeanor. It becomes something personal and totally acceptable to you. When you see someone on screen giving life to these characters it isn’t necessary you’d liked them. This happened with me. I knew Florentino Ariza had nothing attractive about him, yet his image in my mind was pleasing in an unexplainable way but I totally hated the actor who played him on screen especially the old one. His entire body language was hell irritating. Besides the movie didn’t have the spark that the novel had so it failed to ignite the screen or viewer’s emotions for that matter.

My Rating: **

The Namesake

This novel by Jhumpa Lahiri is something that if you give it a skip you won’t miss much but if you have it in your hands then there is no harm in reading it at least once. I did read the novel around the same time when the movie had hit the theaters.

I wanted to watch that movie for two reasons. Tabu and the exotic remake of the song Yeh mera Deewanapan Hai. Tabu has acted so well. The song sounds better in audio only. The cinematography is first rate but… the movie drags at a lethargic pace. I think I can’t blame Mira Nair here. She did her best to make the movie look beautiful and extracted wonderful performances from the lead cast but the fact is that the movie fails to leave a long lasting mark.

My Rating: ***

Brick Lane

Monica Ali’s Brick Lane chronicles the life of a young girl from Bangladesh who marries a middle aged man and comes to London. Again it is a kind of novel that if you didn’t read it you won’t miss anything unless of course you have just starting out reading South Asian writers and tend to like everything they come up with.

I didn’t expect much before watching the movie and it helped me because the movie was pretty ordinary. One doesn’t understand that if the protagonist committed infidelity how easily she redeemed herself and continued living with her man. No explanations needed! But something was amiss. You can happily skip this movie.

My Rating: **


It is never easy to film unconventional and complex subjects. Elegy based on Philip Roth’s The Dying Animal failed to impress me. The thing about Elegy is that neither Ben Kingsly nor Penelope Cruz was bad. It is just that some books are only meant to be read than to be filmed and watched. I can pick up the novel for reading any day but the movie… please spare me from that!

My Rating: **

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2010 8:08 pm

    na wem…topic khowand neshta 😀

  2. July 7, 2010 5:43 am

    same goes with many novels of Nicholas Sparks except a walk to remember. The Kite Runner movie was good though…i enjoyed the movie more then the read

  3. July 7, 2010 9:46 pm

    For me the biggest turn down was Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code… I throw the dvd away after watching 30 or so minutes of it .. such a disappointment it was.

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