Difference Between the Play, Macbeth and the Movie, Maqbool

Difference Between the Play, Macbeth and the Movie, Maqbool

Directed by an Indian Director and film maker, Vishal Bhardwaj, the film, Maqbool is based on one of the greatest tragedies of Shakespeare, Macbeth. When the film was released in 2004 in India, it was highly acclaimed by the film critics. Although the film, Maqbool is an adaptation of Shakespeare play, Macbeth, it is set against the background of Mumbai gangster. In spite of similarity in plot, characters and motif there are many differences between the original play of Shakespeare and the film. In this blog we will explore these differences between the play and the film.

Star Cast of the Movie:

Irrfan Khan---------------Maqbool (Original Macbeth).

Tabu----------------------- Nimmi (original Lady Macbeth)

Pankaj Kapoor------------- Jahangir Khan alias Abbaji (Original King Duncan of Scotland).

Piyush Mishra-------------- Kaka (Original Banquo).

Since the Maqbool’s background is the Mumbai gangster, so the names of the characters are given accordingly to suit the taste of the modern cinema going audience.


After watching the play and the movie, we find the following differences:

• In the movie, Lady Macbeth of the play becomes Nimmi who has come to Mumbai from Lucknow to become an actress but she fails and ultimately becomes the mistress of Abbaji, a leader of a notorious gang of criminals who has the complete control over Mumbai underworld. While in the play, Lady Macbeth is a legitimate wife of Macbeth.

• In the original play of Shakespeare, Duncan is a respected and popular king of Scotland. But in Vishal Bhardwaj’s movie, Duncan has become Abbaji, a creepy leader of the Mumbai gangster.

• In Shakespeare’s play, the motif of killing the king is the lust for absolute power and ambition to become the king and the queen of the country. But in the film the main motif of killing the king is jealousy for love which provokes Maqbool to kill his mentor, Abbaji. Maqbool and Nimmi are in love with each other and they know that unless Abbaji is dead they cannot be united. So Nimmy again and again provokes Maqbool to kill Abbaji while he is sleeping with Nimmy in his bed room.

• In the play, Macbeth there are three witches, the weird sisters, who make prophecy regarding Macbeth and his future. But in the movie Inspector Pandit (Om puri) and Inspector Prohit (Naseeruddin Shah), the two corrupt and sooth saying cops, played the role of three witches.

• Nimmi gives birth to a child in the end of the movie whereas Lady Macbeth does not have any child in the play.

Thus we see that the adaptation of shakespear’s play has become one of the best psychological movies which probes into the inner conscious of the audience and makes us to understand the side effect of being overambitious. The film is also a great contribution and helpful for the translation studies in India.

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Asghar Ali Ansari

School of Language, Literature & Society,

Jaipur National University, Jaipur, India