best 20 bollywood movies based on books

In the realm of storytelling, both literature and cinema hold a special place, each offering a unique canvas to paint the vivid landscapes of imagination. When these two creative worlds collide, magic happens. 

Bollywood, the vibrant and dynamic film industry of India, has consistently sought inspiration from the world of literature, bringing to life some of the most cherished stories penned by talented authors. From the heartfelt emotions of classic romance to the spine-tingling thrills of suspense, Bollywood has masterfully adapted a myriad of literary gems onto the silver screen, creating a cinematic experience that resonates with audiences worldwide. 

In this blog, we embark on a journey through the enchanting fusion of literature and cinema, as we explore the best 20 Bollywood movies that have beautifully translated the essence of books onto celluloid. These adaptations not only capture the essence of their source material but also introduce a fresh perspective, making them a must-watch for book lovers and movie buffs alike.

Also watch: 20 Upcoming Bollywood Movies 2024

Poster of 9 movies from 20

20 best Bollywood movies based on books

1. The Blue Umbrella  

Cast: Pankaj Kapoor, Shreya Sharma, Deepak Dobriyal, Rahul Kumar 

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family

Book: The Blue Umbrella

Writer: Ruskin Bond

The Blue Umbrella is a book written by an Indian author named Ruskin Bond in 1980. 

They made it into a Hindi movie in 2005, also named 'The Blue Umbrella,' and it was directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. 

This movie won a major award in India for being the best children's film.

Ruskin Bond's amusing and brief tale takes place in the lovely hills of Garhwal. 

It depicts life in a village where ordinary people can become heroes and discover redemption.

2. 3 idiots

Cast: Amir Khan, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani, Kareena Kapoor, Omi Vaidya, Javed Jaaferi, Mona Singh, Rahul Kumar

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Book: Five Point Someone

Writer: Chetan Bhagat

Two buddies, R Madhavan and Sharman, go on an adventure to find their lost friend Buddy. During this journey, they stumble upon a long-forgotten bet, gate-crash a wedding, and end up in a funeral that spirals out of control. As they navigate through this challenging journey, they also begin another one – a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about their friend, the irrepressible free-thinker, Rancho (Aamir Khan). Rancho, in his unique way, left a mark on their lives, changing them forever.

This story is set during their hostel days, featuring Rancho's romantic escapades with the spirited Pia (Kareena Kapoor) and his conflicts with the oppressive mentor, Viru Sahastrabudhe (Boman Irani). Then, one day, Rancho disappears without a trace. Who was he? Where did he come from? Why did he leave? He was the friend who encouraged and inspired them to think creatively and independently, even when the world labeled them as "3 Idiots." But now, where is the original idiot?

3. The Mistress of Spices

Cast: Aishwarya Rai, Dylan McDermott, Nitin Ganatra, Anupam Kher, Adewale Akinnoye-Agbaje, Caroline Chikezie, Shaheen Khan, Nina Young, Cosima Shaw

Genre: Romance, Drama

Book: The Mistress of Spices

Writer: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

This is a famous book called "The Mistress of Spices" by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. 

It's about a young woman named Tilo who comes from a different time and has a special talent for working with magical spices.

Tilo is now immortal but lives in the body of an old woman with achy joints. 

She has a store in Oakland, California, where she helps people with her special spices. 

However, her life takes a surprising turn when she falls in love with a handsome stranger. Now, she has to decide between living forever or facing the challenges of modern society. 


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Maqbool, Omkara, Haider movie Poster

4. Maqbool

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Masumeh Makhija, Piyush Mishra

Genre: Thriller, Crime, Drama

Book: Macbeth

Writer: William Shakespeare

The movie's story is kinda like Macbeth in terms of what happens and how the characters are portrayed. It didn't do super well at the box office, but the director, Vishal Bhardwaj, got famous around the world for it. Besides directing, he also made the music for the background and songs in the movie. After that, he made another movie called Omkara in 2006, which was based on Shakespeare's Othello. This one did really good both in theaters and with the critics. In 2014, he made a movie called Haider, which was based on Hamlet, and now people call these three movies his Shakespeare trilogy.

5. Omkara

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Vivek Oberoi, Bipasha Basu, Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Tripathi, Deepak Dobriyal

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Book: Othello

Writer: William Shakespeare

In this Indian version of Shakespeare's "Othello," we meet a guy named Omkara Shukla, who's a bit of a mix, and he's kind of like a bandit. He does something crazy and kidnaps his girlfriend, Dolly Mishra, from her family. Somehow, he manages to pull off this kidnapping because he's pretty smart. But trouble brews when he refuses to give a promotion to his right-hand guy, Langda Tyagi. This leads to a big plan against him, and it not only messes up his relationship with Dolly but also puts their lives and the lives of their friends at risk.

6. Haider

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Tabu, Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Narendra Jha, Ashish Vidyarthi

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Book: Hamlet

Writer: William Shakespeare

In the midst of the troubled times in Kashmir in 1995, Haider is a contemporary version of Shakespeare's sad story Hamlet. It's also inspired by Basharat Peer's book, Curfewed Night. Haider, a young student and poet, comes back to Kashmir when things are really tough to find out what happened to his dad. But he gets caught up in the politics of the state. Haider is the third part of Bhardwaj's series of movies based on Shakespeare, following Maqbool (2003) and Omkara (2006)

The Nmesake Original Book Image

7. The Namesake

Cast: Kal Penn, Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Jacinda Barrett, Zuleikha Robinson, Brooke Smith

Genre: Drama

Book: The Namesake

Writer: Jhumpa Lahiri

The Namesake movie shows how Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli faced difficulties when they moved from West Bengal to the United States. They had two kids, Gogol and Sonia, who were born in America. Most of the story happens in Kolkata, New York City, and the nearby areas of New York City.

8. Slumdog Millionaire

Cast: Dev Patel, Ferida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Saurabh Shukla, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Ayush Khedekar, Azharuddin Ismail

Genre: Crime, Drama, Romance

Book: Q & A

Writer: Vikas Swarup

"Slumdog Millionaire" is a movie from 2008. It's a British drama that's based on a book called "Q & A," written by an Indian author named Vikas Swarup in 2005. The story is about Jamal Malik, who's 18 years old and comes from the slums of Juhu in Mumbai.

In the movie, Jamal takes part in a show called "Kaun Banega Crorepati," which is the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" He surprises everyone by answering all the questions correctly and winning ₹2 crore (US$460,000). But people accuse him of cheating. To prove he didn't cheat, Jamal tells the police his life story, showing how he knew all the answers.

9. Mohalla Assi

Cast: Sunny Deol, Sakshi Tanwar, Ravi Kishan, Saurabh Shukla, Rajendra Gupta

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Book: Kashi Ka Assi

Writer: Dr. Kashi Nath Singh 

The movie is kinda inspired by a famous Hindi book called "Kashi Ka Assi" written by Dr. Kashi Nath Singh. It's about how the city of Varanasi has changed because of tourism and how some fake gurus fool foreign tourists. Assi Ghat is a place in Varanasi by the Ganges River, and the movie is set in a well-known neighborhood near this ghat in the southern part of Varanasi. 

In the movie, you'll also see Ravi Kishen and Sakshi Tanwar. The story takes place after India became independent. Sunny Deol plays the main character, who is a Sanskrit teacher and a traditional religious priest (Pandit), and Sakshi Tanwar plays his wife. The movie tells the story of what happened in the years 1990 and 1989, including events like the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and the implementation of the Mandal Commission.

10. Raazi 

Cast: Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Amruta Khanvilkar, Rajit Kapoor, Shishir Sharma

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Book: Calling Sehmat

Writer: Harinder Sikka

The movie is based on a book called "Calling Sehmat" by Harinder Sikka, which was written in 2008. It tells the true story of an Indian spy working for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). At the request of her father, she gets married into a family of Pakistani military officers to gather information for India before the Indo-Pakistani War in 1971.

11. 2 States

Cast: Alia Bhatt, Arjun Kapoor, Amrita Singh, Revati, Ronit Roy, Shivkumar Subramaniam

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Book: 2 States

Writer: Chetan Bhagat

"2 States: The Tale of My Wedding," often referred to simply as "2 States," is a book written by Chetan Bhagat in 2009. This book tells the story of a young couple from different states in India. They encounter challenges as they try to get their parents to agree to their marriage.

Devdas poster of Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai

12. Devdas

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Madhuri Dixit, Jackie Shroff, Kirron Kher, Smita Jaykar

Genre: Musical, Drama, Romance

Book: Devdas

Writer: Sarat Chandra Chattopadhya

This movie is based on a book written in 1917 by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. It tells the story of a guy named Devdas Mukherjee (played by Khan). He's a rich guy who studied law in London and comes back to India to marry his childhood friend, Parvati, who everyone calls "Paro" (played by Rai). But the problem is, his own family doesn't want him to marry her. This makes him really sad, and he starts drinking a lot. Eventually, he becomes really emotionally messed up and goes to a kind-hearted lady named Chandramukhi (played by Dixit) for help.

13. Aisha

Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Abhay Deol, Karamjeet Madonna, Amrita Puri, Cyrus Sahukar, Arunoday Singh, Ira Dubey, Lisa Haydon

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Book: Emma

Writer: Jane Austen

This movie is based in posh Delhi, India. It's like a modern version of Jane Austen's book Emma from 1815, and it's got the same vibe as the popular Hollywood movie Clueless, which is also based on Austen's book. The music in the movie, made by Amit Trivedi and with words written by Javed Akhtar, got really good reviews from music experts.

14. Kai Po Che

Cast: Sushant Singh Rajpoot, Amit Sadh, Rajkummar Rao, Amrita Puri, Digvijay Deshmukh, Asif Basra 

Genre: Drama, Sports

Book: The 3 Mistakes of My Life

Writer: Chetan Bhagat

The title originally comes from a Gujarati saying that means "I have cut," which is about Makar Sankranti, known as Uttarayan in Gujarat. During this festival, one person uses their kite to cut another person's kite and shouts this phrase.

The movie, "Kai Po Che!", is set in Ahmedabad from 2000 to 2012. It's about three friends: Ishaan "Ish" Bhatt (played by Rajput), Omkar "Omi" Shastri (played by Sadh), and Govind "Govi" Patel (played by Rao). They want to open their own sports shop and sports academy. The film also covers significant events like the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, the 2002 Godhra train burning, and the 2002 Gujarat Riots. The movie shows how their strong friendship is affected by religious politics and communal hatred, changing their innocence over time.

15. Parineeta

Cast: Vidya Balan, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Dia Mirza, Raima Sen

Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance

Book: Parineeta

Writer: Sarat Chandra Chattopadhya

Parineeta mainly tells the story of the main characters, Lalita and Shekhar. They've been buddies since they were kids, and over time, their friendship turns into love. But things get messed up because of some sneaky plans by Shekhar's dad, and they end up apart. Then, Girish comes into the picture, helping Lalita's family. In the end, Shekhar decides to choose love over his father's selfishness and goes after Lalita.

16. Saawariya

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Salman Khan, Rani Mukheji, Zohra Sehgal, Begum Para

Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance

Book: White Nights

Writer: Fyodor Dostoevsky

The story is told by Gulabji, who is a sex worker and often goes to RK Bar, the fanciest club in town. The main singer at the bar, Raj, who she lovingly calls "Saawariya" or "beloved," is a person who is free-spirited and kind-hearted. Even though he knows what Gulab does for a living, he treats her with kindness. Unlike other men, Raj is also friendly to the other sex workers and tries to bring some happiness into their difficult lives.

One day, Raj tells Gulab that he needs a job and a place to stay. Gulab informs him that there's only one woman who might offer him a place to stay: Lillian. However, Lillian is selective about who she allows to stay with her, and she only chooses people she likes.

17. Hello

Cast: Salman Khan, Sharma Joshi, Gul Panag, Isha Koppikar, Katrina Kaif, Amrita Arora, Arbaaz Khan, Sohail Khan

Genre: Drama, Romance

Book: One Night at the call center

Writer: Chetan Bhagat

Hello... is a story about what happens one night at a call center. It's told from the perspective of the main character and it's a tale of nearly forgotten love, dreams that got blocked, the lack of family love, the challenges of a traditional family, and the workplace in a global office.

18. 7 Khoon Maaf

Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Vivaan Shah, Neil Nitin Mukesh, John Abraham, Irrfan Khan, Kokona Sen Sharma, Alexander Diachenko

Genre: Drama, Comedy, Mystry

Book: Susanna's Seven Husband's

Writer: Ruskin Bond

This movie is all about Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes, a woman with mixed Indian and British heritage. She goes on a quest for love and ends up causing six deaths in the process.

7 Khoon Maaf is based on a short story called "Susanna's Seven Husbands" by Ruskin Bond. When Bhardwaj thought it could be a great movie, he asked Bond to make it into a film. Bond turned his 4-page story into an 80-page book, and later, Bhardwaj and Matthew Robbins worked together on the script. Bhardwaj made the music, and Gulzar wrote the lyrics. They started filming in Kashmir and then moved to Coorg for more scenes.

Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor in Rain poster

19. Half Girlfriend

Cast: Shraddha Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Vikrant Massey, Shriidhar Dubey, Rhea Chakraborty, Ella Ayberg, Anisa Butt

Genre: Drama, Romance

Book: Half Girlfriend

Writer: Chetan Bhagat

"Half Girlfriend" is a Bollywood movie all about love and drama. It's based on a book by Chetan Bhagat with the same name.

Madhav meets a girl named Riya, and they fall in love. He tries hard to make her his girlfriend, and she kinda agrees to be his "Half Girlfriend."

20. Dev D

Cast: Abhay Deol, Mahie Gill, Kalki Koechlin, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Manoj Bakshi

Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy

Book: Devdas

Writer: Sarat Chandra Chattopashyay

The movie takes place in today's Punjab and Delhi, where families follow traditional customs, and marriages involve power and honor. The movie has three main characters: Paro, Chanda, and Dev. These three characters, whose lives come together, are each trying to understand themselves better. I've changed some things from the original story. Chanda, played by Kalki Koechlin, is a normal college girl who works as a call girl at night.

Also watch: 20 Upcoming Bollywood Movies 2024

As we conclude our journey through the captivating blend of literature and Bollywood cinema, we are reminded of the enduring power of storytelling. These 20 movies have proven that great stories, when translated with care and creativity onto the screen, have the ability to transcend time, culture, and language. They have the capacity to touch our hearts, ignite our imaginations, and spark conversations that resonate long after the credits roll.

In the ever-evolving landscape of cinema, we can only anticipate more exciting adaptations to come. With each new project, Bollywood continues to bridge the gap between the written word and the silver screen, weaving tales that will endure for generations to come. As we eagerly await the next chapter in this delightful cinematic journey, let us celebrate the magic of storytelling, a timeless art form that binds us all in the shared joy of imagination and emotion.