10 Must-Watch Movies Made From Books in Indian Languages

If you were to ask a book lover to choose between a book and a movie adaption of the same, they are bound to choose the book. However, that doesn’t take away the fact that there are some amazing movies made based on books in Indian languages, some even better than the original. While we admire Hollywood for its brilliant movie adaptations, a lesser known fact is that a decent number of movies have been inspired by books in Indian languages, some even winning awards for the screenplay and story. Considered to be cult classics, these movies in today’s times are a study in itself for any ardent cinema buff. Sharing with you a list of 10 such movies based on books in Indian languages:

1. Balika Badhu (1976)

Balika Badhu a Bengali novel written by Sahitya Academy Award winning writer Bimal Kar, tells the story of a young girl Rajni who is married to Amal. Their journey of understanding each other and marriage as an institution is what forms the crux of the movie.

2. Chokher Bali (2003)

Based on a famous Bengali novel of the same name by Rabindranath Tagore, Choker Bali is the story of a young widow Binodini and her life post attaining widowhood. It is a heart wrenching depiction of the complexity of human relationships and how difficult it is to understand what one partner wants from the other.

3. Devdas (2002)

Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Bengali novel Devdas (1917) is the story of unrequited love and the endless pain it brings along. Revolving around Dev and Paro who are childhood lovers, the story takes a twisted turn of fate when Paro marries someone else leaving Dev broken hearted. He becomes an alcoholic and funds refuge in the arms of a courtesan Chandramukhi. The rest of the story depicts their inner turmoil and chaos.

4. Pinjar (2003)

Inspired by a Punjabi novel written by Amrita Pritam, this movie depicts a poignant love story with Partition as the back drop where two families are caught at war with each other due to age old enmity, plotting revenge when Partition strikes the country. Suddenly from just being enemies due to misunderstandings they are now real enemies because one is a Hindu family while the other is a Muslim family. It is the way this man-made calamity helps them bury the hatchet that makes this a touching movie with a stellar star cast.

5. Saraswatichandra (1968)

Based on a Gujarati Novel of the same name by Govardhanram Madhavram Tripathi, the story is about two star-crossed lovers Saraswati Chandra and Kumud who keep meeting and parting ways only to meet again with fate having different plans for them every time.

6. Sahib, Biwi aur Ghulam(1962)

Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam a movie that created history is based on a Bengali novel by Bimal Mitra. Narrating the fall of the zamindar system in Bengal during late 19th century the story shows us the fragility of human relationships and how trust can make or mar them brutally. Choti Bahu is the pivotal character here who is struggling to make her marriage work and eventually pays with her life.

7. Rajnigandha (1974)

This Basu Chatterjee directorial is based on a short story “Yahi Sach hai” written by noted Hindi writer Manu Bhandari. This heartwarming movie with its beautiful take on the complexity of relationships is the tale of two lovers Deepa and Sanjay. It depicts how we always believe grass is greener on the other side till a harsh reminder shows us the preciousness of what we actually have.

8. Paheli (2005)

Not many know that this Amol Palekar directorial is actually based on a short story written in Rajasthani by Padma Shri Vijayadan Detha where a ghost falls in love with a newly married woman and turns into her husband to stay with her forever.

9. Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977)

Master story teller Premchand’s poignant short story Shatranj Ke Khiladi written in 1924 was adapted on screen by Satyajit Ray. This movie is powerful portrayal of how far can one go for their obsession as it shows us the falling of the Nawab of Awadh, the planning and plotting done by the Britishers for it and the way his very own people left him in lurch.

10. Pather Panchali (1955)

Considered to be a masterpiece, Pather Panchali, the novel was written in Bengali by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay in 1929 and made into a movie by Satyajit Ray. It depicts the story of protagonist Apu and his sister Durga, along with the harsh life they live in a non-descript village. It not only won the National Award for Best Feature film that year but also holds a place in one of the greatest films ever made till date.

How many of these movies have you watched?


Namrata is a lost wanderer who loves travelling the length and breadth of the world. She lives amidst sepia toned walls, fuchsia curtains, fairy lights and shelves full of books. When not buried between the pages of a book, she loves blowing soap bubbles. A published author she enjoys capturing the magic of life in her words and is always in pursuit of a new country and a new story.

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