Samantha Ruth Prabhu
Samantha Ruth Prabhu

Shaakuntalam, directed by Gunasekhar and featuring Samantha Ruth Prabhu, is a new addition to the list of cinematic adaptations of Kalidasa’s famous play Abhijnanashakuntalam. However, the story of Shakuntala and her divine character has inspired filmmakers across various industries for almost a century. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most notable films based on the play.

Early Tamil Adaptation: Sakuntalai

Sakuntalai is a Tamil film directed by Ellis R Dungan, which dates back to the 1940s. This black-and-white movie features GN Balasubramaniam as Dushyanta, MS Subbulaksmi as Sakuntalai, and child actor Radha as Bharata. The film gained popularity due to a particular scene where a European female dancer appears from the water to bless Sakuntalai. This scene, which featured the dancer in a skin-tight one-piece costume, became the talk of the town. Sakuntalai remains one of the notable films in M. S. Subbulakshmi’s career.

Other Adaptations of Abhijnanashakuntalam

Over the years, many other filmmakers have adapted the story of Shakuntala in their unique ways. Some of the notable adaptations are:

Malayalam Film: Amba Ambika Ambalika

This Malayalam film is a satirical take on Abhijnanashakuntalam. The story revolves around three sisters – Amba, Ambika, and Ambalika – who claim to be the rightful heirs of a wealthy family. The film, directed by P. G. Viswambharan, features Sukumari, Rohini, and Menaka in the lead roles.

Hindi Film: Shakuntala

Shakuntala is a Hindi film directed by Dinkar D. Patil, starring Jayshree Gadkar as Shakuntala and Mahipal as King Dushyanta. The film was released in 1961 and received critical acclaim for its performances and music.

Television Show: Shakuntala

This Indian television show was produced by Ramanand Sagar and aired in the 1980s. The show featured Roopa Ganguly as Shakuntala and was praised for its performances and storytelling.

Musical: Shakuntala

This musical adaptation of Abhijnanashakuntalam was produced by Ranga Shankara and directed by Prakash Belawadi. The play was performed in various languages across India and abroad and received positive reviews for its music and performances.


Shaakuntalam is the latest cinematic adaptation of Kalidasa’s Abhijnanashakuntalam, which promises an engaging and advanced experience to movie lovers. However, over the years, the story of Shakuntala has inspired many other filmmakers, television shows, and musicals. Each adaptation has its unique take on the story, but the divine character of Shakuntala continues to inspire artists and audiences alike.


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