Bollywood’s Best Adaptations of Shakespeare

Shakespeare is known as one of the finest writers to have ever lived, whose sonnets and plays have been adapted countless times. He has been an inspiration to every budding and established writer, screenwriter and theatre artist, and when it comes to taking inspiration, Bollywood leaves no stone unturned. However, with hundreds of adaptations already out there and the original work being so legendary, adapting Shakespeare’s work is no easy feat. Bollywood has made several attempts to do so, some successful and some not.

Here are some of our favorite Shakespeare-inspired Bollywood movies that stay true to his iconic work and manage to add their own flavor to it.

Do Dooni Char (1968)
Based on: Comedy of Errors
Do Dooni Chaar - BookMyshow
Directed by Debu Sen with a screenplay by Gulzar, Do Dooni Char starring Kishore Kumar and Tanuja goes to prove that Bollywood’s affair with Shakespeare is a longstanding one. Released in 1968, this film is based on the humorous, pun-filled play Comedy of Errors and it manages to do it justice completely.

Maqbool (2003)
Based on: Macbeth
Maqbool - BookMyShow
Inspired by Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, Vishal Bhardwaj’s attempt with Maqbool was a major success and a step in the right direction. With actors like Pankaj Kapur, Irrfan Khan and Tabu, this film ventured into the dark side of human nature with just the right balance to appeal to the Indian audience.

Omkara (2006)
Based on: Othello
Omkara - BookMyShow
Another film from Vishal Bhardwaj‘s kitty of the legend’s adaptations, Omkara is another film which ticks all the right boxes. Set in Uttar Pradesh, this ‘Indianised’ take on Othello was made with a certain maturity that most Bollywood films lack.

10ml LOVE (2012)
Based on: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
10ml Love - BookMyShow
This is yet another refreshing take on Shakespeare by writer/director Sharat Katariya. Adapting a play like A Midsummer Night’s Dream which includes magic and fairies into a film is not easy. But this film managed to do it well with its charming screenplay and underrated cast.

Ram Leela (2013)
Based on: Romeo & Juliet
Ram Leela - BookMyShow
While Sanjay Leela Bhansali received mixed reviews for this film, it was definitely a good attempt at recreating that Romeo & Juliet magic as compared to other Bollywood films that have tried to do the same. Bhansali stayed true to the original classic without losing the style that he is best known for.

Haider (2014)
Based on: Hamlet
Haider - BookMyShow
As you probably already know by now, Vishal Bhardwaj is best known in Bollywood for adapting Shakespeare and doing it triumphantly. Haider was his latest and probably biggest hit with actors like Shahid Kapoor, Irrfan Khan and Tabu bringing to life this tragedy in the snow-clad mountains of Kashmir.  


– By Aditi Santhmayer

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