Monday, March 13, 2006

Is it Plagiarism if

I steal from what I myself wrote, 3 years back? No, I'd say. Read something interesting on Rediff today - a brief slideshow on upcoming movies that are based on books. This is something I love to do - read a book, and then analyze how well it would translate to celluloid - which actors to cast in the characters, how to present a particular scene etc. Of course, I 'think' Indian, and so I naturally think of Malayalam, Tamil or Hindi actors.

Being too lazy to make up a fresh list, here I pilfer something that I'd submitted to an old Prem Panicker discussion board on books, movies 'n cricket approx 3 years ago. The article is reproduced below (please excuse the tendency to use bigger words; I was smaller then ;) !!), with some small updates:


1. 'Rita Hayworth: The Shawshank Redemption' by Stephen King: An awesome story about a prison escape. I know the movie has already been made, and that too with somebody as good as Morgan Freeman, but somehow, I felt something was lacking in the telling of the tale: you know how it is, the movie can never be as good as the book. Imagine the movie with Mohan Lal (or Naseeruddin Shah, I can think of nobody else) instead of Freeman and Shah Rukh Khan as the new prisoner - WOW! a must-watch, wouldn't you think ?
Update: Boman Irani as the jailor, I'd add.

2. 'The Horse Whisperer' by Nicholas Evans: Yet another beautiful book mutilated by Robert Redford & co - with the right actors and director, what a movie it would make. From the time I have read the book, I have been thinking of who could do the character of Tom Booker (in the book) – keeps coming back to Anil Kapoor, at least for me; who else could look as good as the ole-westerner-from-town (remember him in that excuse for a movie Trimurti) ? And as the heroine, it would have to be either Madhuri Dixit (a natural choice with AK) or Tabu (for the sheer skill required). Another brilliant premise, even if I do say so myself :). If you haven't read this book, get hold of a copy immediately.

3. 'FireStarter' by Stephen King: Have heard that there is a movie on this too, but haven't seen it. Abt a man and his daughter who has the 'special' ability to light fires just by glaring at sumthin, the book is a helluva one to add to your collection. Kannathil Muthamittaal has provided a strong contender for the role of the daughter - Keerthana is one helluva actor. Another choice would be the girl who acted in Makdee - I haven't seen so many expressions in any actor after Manju Warrier. As the dad, well, I keep coming back to Mohan Lal or Aamir Khan (remember the rapport he shared with the kids in Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke, Akele Hum Akele Tum). And the bizzare story would defnly excite Ram Gopal Varma, I think :)

4. 'The General's Daughter' by Nelson Demille: Un-put-downable, in one word! Please go by the book and not the John Travolta movie, as the movie is nowhere near the book. Just imagine Shahrukh Khan as the irreverent investigation officer and Kareena in the title role, with Naserruddin Shah as the General. Would be one helluva movie, wouldn't it ? And judging by Chalte Chalte, Rani Mukerji would make an ideal foil for SRK's irrepressiveness.
Update: Travolta did botch this one, for sure. I still think SRK, for all his nervous twiches and quivering eyebrows, is a much more decent actor than we give him credit for. And yes, he could definitely carry off this one, provided one strictly adhered to the book (the censor be damned).

5. 'The Green Mile' by Stephen King: Oops, this is my third Stephen King book, huh. And that too, an absolutely brilliant movie to boot, enacted beyond perfection by that chameleon of actors, Tom Hanks. Who would have the guts to remake this, one might ask. Hmm, what about a Malayalam remake, with Mammootty as the prisoner and Mohan Lal as the jailor ? Would definitely be an interesting twist, wouldn't it, a story of a cop and a prisoner, starring Mammootty and Lal, and Mammootty not playing the cop ? Here is one movie I wouldn't mind copying frame by frame, dialogue by dialogue. Priyadarsan, anybody?
Update: If their chemistry in Pithaamagan is any indication, Vikram and Surya wouldn't exactly be a bad combination either. Matching Tom Hanks here would be a tough ask, though.

6. 'Wish You Well' by David Baldacci: A feel-good story about two children and their grandmother. I cannot imagine anybody but Shabana Azmi playing the strong grandmother. The kids would be more difficult to select, though. My choices would be the Makdee-girl, once again and Suraj of Asoka fame. As for the lawyer Cotton, I think Jackie Shroff would be quite a good choice. Catch the book, if you haven't yet. (I was tempted to put down the author's own 'The Winner' here instead, and Kamal Haasan for the lead role, but I thought it would be too gimmicky for Kamal to do a role that demanded disguise after disguise).

7. 'The Evening News' by Arthur Hailey: If you want a movie about two strong characters, and Kane & Abel has already been morphed (badly) into Khudgarz (ugh!) and Annaamalai (ughhhhhh!), you could not pick a better novel. But unless the second character were conceived and enacted the right way, he could come away looking like a wimp (much like Jeetendra did in Khudgarz; well, the fact that Jeetendra would come across as a wimp even if he played Attila The Hun is another matter altogether!), and my man for the role would be Aamir Khan, with of course SRK as the more flamboyant 'other guy'. Its another matter altogether whether Aamir would accept the role, especially in today's post-Lagaan times. Also, the movie also deals partly with the Stockholm syndrome, not shown very much in cinema - kidnappers are the bad guys, aren't they ?

8. 'The Godplayer' by Robin Cook: All about a doctor who plays God - Dr. Thomas Kingsley. This was the first 'adult' book that I read, and o-boy, was I hooked. This character absolutely demands either the Big B, or Kamal Haasan; no one else could possibly fulfil the complex demands of this character. This is definitely one movie I would add to the 'must-watch' category. Plus it would be the first of its kind in India, a true medical-thriller, despite pathetic claims by Armaan to the same.
Update: The Big B needs to be controlled, as he is in Viruddh, and not let loose to ham like crazy, like he did in the first 40 minutes of Black under the pretext of eccentricity.

9. 'Long Lost' by David Morell: A story about a long-lost brother, and what a brother he turns out to be !! I would want SRK and Hrithik Roshan for this one. Would be interesting for the sheer shock value that Hrithik would cause by playing such a character. And SRK because, although the other character is more well-etched, his is the more demanding role. Again, one for the Ram Gopal Varma camp. And with no songs, please.
Update: Interesting, that Hrithik is indeed playing a 'grey' character (Bollywood lingo for a villain who's villainous only 'coz his dad was alcoholic, his mom was raped (& then died of blood-cancer), and he himself was then left all alone with the big bad samaj; as opposed to someone like Amrish Puri or Shakti Kapoor, who are lechers and evil from birth) today, in the forthcoming Dhoom-2.

10. 'Outrage' by Henry Denker: A riveting courtroom drama (much before Grisham's times) about a trial involving a colored man murdering the rapists of his daughter. Would be interesting if the Indian version were set in Mumbai, immediately after the Masjid demolition, and the defendant were a Muslim, wouldn't it? With Aamir Khan as the lawyer and Nasseeruddin Shah as the grief-stricken father, would be one for Mani Ratnam among the Roja-Bombay series. Unfortunately, the plot sounds lazily like Damini, but I still think the movie would stand a good chance at the box-office :)
Update: Sounds interesting even now !!

I'd also love to see a movie made out of Khaled Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner', but the book is so serene and beautiful, that no actor could possibly do justice to it.

1 comment:

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