When did you get into reading? School or college or later?
School, especially during the summer holidays! I would get extremely bored in the afternoons and one of my relatives suggested that I should take up reading. She suggested Sidney Sheldon and Danielle Steel. Suddenly a whole new world opened up for me.
Which is it your favourite book(s)? How has it made an impact on you?
Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson. I love the way she experiments with writing. She weaves fiction, fantasy and feminism together so beautifully. I didn’t know a story can be told that way before I read it. It opened my mind to different kinds of narratives and the possibility of breaking so many rules of conventional writing.
Jeanette Winterson, Doris Lessing, Milan Kundera, Haruki Murakami, Amrita Pritam and Nirmal Verma.
Favourite genre and books from the said genre you enjoyed reading?
Magic realism! I absolutely love the genre. It opens up one’s imagination. The books I enjoyed reading were One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie and Beloved by Toni Morrison.
How do you take out time for reading from your busy schedule?
I read usually when I’m travelling. As an actor there is usually a lot of free time when you are put up in a hotel. And at times it gets extremely lonely. Books keep me company then. Then there are a lot of free days when I’m not shooting. I try to read then.
How many books do you read in a month?
I used to read a lot earlier. It’s much less now. It’s one book a month, and if there’s too much work then one book over two months.
Where do you get book recommendations from?
Friends and internet.
Which format do you prefer ebook or physical book? Why?
Physical book... I absolutely love the texture of the pages and the smell. I usually read with a pencil in hand. If I come across something that resonates with me or is just simply beautiful, I tend to underline it. There have been times when I have revisited the same book after years, and when I see my markings, I know what I was feeling when I first read it.
What are you currently reading?
Life is absurd these days, with so much negative news. So, I’m currently reading Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window and thoroughly enjoying it. There also Jay Shetty’s Think Like A Monk.
Bookish memory you would like to share?
Oh yes! While growing up we used to have a small library near my house. You couldn’t order books online back then, and my parents weren’t sure if I would stick to reading when I first mentioned it to them, so they enrolled me into this library. There was a middle-aged lady who was the librarian there. She was an avid reader. A lot of times I would ask her for recommendations. Eventually, we developed a bond... We would discuss different books, genres, what I liked about the author, what she felt, so and so forth. I still cherish those little conversations.
Book adaptations (films/ theatre/ TV – any of these) you have watched and loved.
Pride and Prejudice (2005), the one starring Keira Knightley. The book was nice, but I absolutely loved the film too. It’s my go to film when I’m feeling low. The film brings out the romance out so well. Then there’s Eat Pray Love... Julia Roberts is one of my all-time favourite actors and I absolutely love the film.
A book you want to see being made into a film?
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. It’s a beautifully written book, and I cried a lot while reading it. I would love to see a film being made based on the book.
Classic(s) you haven’t read but claimed to have read?
Any vintage or first editions on your book shelf?
Have you ever saved money to buy a book?
I have! I was in college and wanted to buy The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger as my friends had recommended it. So, I saved money, and went to Flora Fountain (in Mumbai) where you could buy books from street stalls at cheaper rates.
If asked to choose three books from your bookshelf, which would you reach out to?
Rasidi Ticket — Amrita Pritam’s autobiography. For the sense of freedom her writing exudes.
Haruki Murakami’s book of short stories called Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. It’s an easy read and Murakami can really transport you to another world.
Love Again by Doris Lessing. The book is a tale about an older woman, a theatre director, exploring her creativity and sensuality. It’s a simple, yet beautiful read.
Book(s) you would recommend to our readers?
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, Compilation of poems by Amrita Pritam, and Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson.