Every student of literature has gone through a phase of learning Shakespeare by rote. And then there is hardly an attempt by the education system to systematically explain his masterpieces to us. However, I recently came across the book Masala Shakespeare by Jonathan Gil Harris and it is a book to take a note of if you are studying Shakespeare or want to study Shakespeare.  The book is published by Aleph book company.

The first time I heard Jonathan Gil Harris was during Tata Lit Fest in Mumbai. And ever since I wanted to read this book.

View this post on Instagram

#Qotd: Which is that one book you want to be adapted in movie or web series? / What inspires you everyday? ⁣ –⁣ The session Masala Shakespeare hosted by @kavereeb with speakers #VishalBhardwaj and author @jonathan.gil.harris was one wonderful session I got to attend at Tata Lit fest! ⁣ ⁣ The confluence of Shakespeare and Bollywood and how Shakespeare is the long lost kin of Indian entertainment was spoken about and nuances of cinema were discussed and dissected like never before. This one gave me (read “gifted me”) a perspective to view art in a different light. Who would have thought the difference between words like “apna” and “humara” could be so deep or the Iambic pentameter could have an element of hesitation to it or for that matter the plays by Shakespeare were infact biopics of his time. Even when I was studying his plays for my MA I never saw Shakespeare in this light! ⁣ ⁣ Reviewing Haider for a mainstream Bollywood website was fun but this session was absolutely delightful and worth our time. Lovers of cinema and literature, this one was totally for you. I have taken back so much from this session and I am thankful to @tatalitlive for it. ⁣ ⁣ Apart from this, I got to meet my college friend @saniyasaxena after many years! So thank you very much Tata lit fest. “Bichado ko milaye Tata Lit Fest 😂”⁣ ⁣ Ps: Editing out the extra pounds and adding only cute pics of mine 😂⁣ ⁣ Pps: Don’t miss out Vishal Bhardwaj crooning videos. ❤ ⁣ ⁣ Swipe swipe 🐣⁣ .⁣ .⁣ #Bookstagram #bookstagramindia #mumbaibookstagram #unitedbookstagram #notyouraveragebookspam #bionicbookbabes #thebookieclub #booksharks ⁣ #booksaremagic #fallreads #bookjunkie #bookshivers ⁣ #bookishlifestyle #booksbooksbooks #alwaysreading #bookobessed #bookish⁣ #asianlitgram #readaholic #literaturefestival

A post shared by Siddhi Palande | Book Blogger (@book_gobbler) on


The book is over 200 pages long and is certainly a heavy read. But as long as you are reading it, you are sure to enjoy it. In the most comprehensible manner, the author has explained us the works of Shakespeare and has done so by equating it with Bollywood movies. Indian cinema has drawn heavily from Shakespeare but I hadn’t come across an indepth study of the same. This book gives you a chance to read up about Shakespeare as well as Bollywood’s cinematic brilliance by auteurs like Vishal Bhardwaj and Mira Nair. 

The language of the author made me fall in love with this book. Throughout the author kept stressing that Shakespeare is Indian entertainment’s long lost twin. The book sure has political undertones and it amalgams the same to put across a point, judiciously. For instance, the rift created by the mere usage of words like “humara” and “apna” with respect to the current political situations and the current Indian cinema. This and much more will surely blow your mind. The book is enlightening and an eye opener. 

There are films based on Shakespeare’s works that are easily recognizable but Harris digs deeper and presents to us all possible places in movies and plays where he finds the  ghostly presence of Shakespeare.  Ishqzaade, Goliyon ki raasleela – Ramleela are very much Hindized Romeo and Juliet but who would have thought  that a song Jhalla- Wallah carries is the real essence of Shakespeare! I have found that Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadkne Do has spirit of Virginia Woolf with respect to the stresses on certain words or situations in the film. But then Farhan Akhtar’s youthful and vibrant work, Dil Chahta Hai, too draws from Shakespeare. And who would have really thought this?! We certainly didn’t when we saw the movie, right?

The book has a very impactful and convincing writing. This book carries the soul of Shakespeare. I would suggest that once you have read this book, go back and listen to the songs mentioned and rewatch the movies for a better understanding.  And I am sure you will see these movies in a different light.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by all the revelations made by the author. This book makes Shakespeare  attractive and more entertaining. And it is a must read for cinephiles and bibliophiles, according  to me.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Publisher: Aleph book company
To buy the book, pls click https://amzn.to/34ocM0m

**Copyright in content and pictures belongs to Siddhi Palande, the owner of this blog, and cannot be republished or repurposed without permission from the author. Infringement of any kind will invite strict legal action.**