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World Theatre Day 2021: Must-See Movies That Are Actually Based On Plays

Vishal Bhardwaj's Maqbool and Haider are based on Shakespeare's plays.

Vishal Bhardwaj's Maqbool and Haider are based on Shakespeare's plays.

Owing to its very refined, nuanced form, theatre/plays have often inspired filmmakers to make films based on play adaptations.

World Theatre Day (WTD), annually observed on March 27, commemorates this exceptional truth and beauty of theatre that it magically exudes. Launched by the International Theatre Institute (ITI) in 1961 in order to propagate immeasurable value of this art form, WTD reflects on the theme of Theatre and a Culture of Peace. Every year theatre events are organized by several institutions.

Owing to its very refined, nuanced form, theatre/plays have often inspired filmmakers to make films based on play adaptations. As the world pays tribute to this phenomenal art medium, let’s take a look at the movies that have been adapted from plays.

Pygmalion: This George Bernard Shaw play has been immensely popular, and a favourite of filmmakers. In 1938, it was adapted as a film with the same name.

Later on, in 1964 My Fair Lady (American musical drama) was made from the same adaptation, featuring Audrey Hepburn.

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The phonetic Professor Higgins, and Elizabeth Dolittle’s characters from the play were so popular that this play went on to be adapted in Bengali and made into a film named – ‘Ogo Bodhu Sundari' starring Uttam Kumar; and in Hindi – ‘Manpasand', starring Dev Anand, Tina Munim.

Romeo + Juliet: Baz Luhrman brilliantly adapted this popular Shakespeare play and made a film named Romeo+ Juliet (1996) starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It was a modernized version of the play and had won several prestigious awards.

Hamlet: In 1948, British film titled Hamlet was made from Shakespeare’s play of the same name. It was the first British film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. In Bollywood, Vishal Bhardwaj made Haider starring Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Shahid Kapoor.

Macbeth: Another Hindi movie to be made on Shakespeare’s play was ‘Maqbool’ directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. It was adapted from Macbeth. Featuring Tabu, Irrfan, Pankaj Kapoor, the movie was critically acclaimed.

Othello: Shakespeare’s play Othello was adapted as Omkara on-screen directed by Bhardwaj once again, with an ensemble cast of Konkona, Ajay Devgn, Kareena, Saif.

A Doll’s House: This Henry Ibsen’s play has been another favourite of filmmakers. It was made into a film of the same name in 1973, directed by Patrick starring Claire Bloom and Anthony Hopkins.