Vishal Bhardwaj having carved his niche with the Shakespeare Trilogy – Macbeth as Maqbool (2003), Othello as Omkara (2006), and Hamlet as Haider (2014) – has now moved on to the Agatha Christie universe. This is exciting news because adaptation is tricky, and a British text to an Indian context even more-so. But Bhardwaj has shown the universality of greed, grief, megalomania, and jealousy, turning Scotland into Mumbai's underworld, Venice into UP's hinterland, and Denmark into bloodletting Kashmir.
Christie, the British writer, is known for her popular, best-selling detective novels- 66 of them. Born in 1890, she passed away in 1976. Her books have sold over 2 billion copies across the globe in English and translations. The literary and media rights to her work, managed by Agatha Christie Limited (ACL), have been in contact with Bhardwaj. It is interesting to note that after Shakespeare she is the second largest selling author.
Incidentally, Kenneth Branagh, who bought the rights to all Hercule Poirot stories, and has an upcoming film based on Christie's novel Death On The Nile, is also known for his previous Shakespeare adaptations.
What is not known however, is which novel is first being adapted. For now, all we know is that the adaptation will be set in Auli, Uttarakhand. And for fans of Bhardwaj's music, he has noted, "Bilkul! Iss mein gaane bhi honge!"
Also Read: Vishal Bhardwaj's Timeless Melodies
And while Bhardwaj has moved to Christie, Rohit Shetty has taken over Bhardwaj's mantle, deciding to part with the Singham universe (for now), and dabble in some Shakespeare. While Shetty and Shakespeare might seem an unlikely pair today, it must be noted that Shakespeare was an immensely popular bard of his time, dabbling in bawdy and sexual language which was not appreciated by the "cultured" folks of his time.
Shetty will be collaborating with Ranveer Singh after Simmba to adapt Shakespeare's comic play, The Comedy Of Errors. This has been previously adapted by Gulzar in Angoor (1982), starring Sanjeev Kumar, Moushumi Chatterjee, Deven Verma, Deepti Naval, and Aruna Irani. The play is known for its slapstick humour. A classic case of mistaken identities, it is the story of identical twins separated at birth.
Titled Cirkus this film will also star Pooja Hegde, Jacqueline Fernandez, and Varun Sharma. It goes on floors next month, and will be shot in Mumbai, Ooty and Goa, scheduled for an end-2021 release.
With Ranveer Singh's 83 and Shetty's Sooryavanshi's release both on hold, and Bhardwaj composing and releasing music under his label VB Music, holed up in Mussoorie, these two films announcements have shown that whatever happens, the show must go on.