World Book and Copyright Day: From Manav Kaul To Sanjeev Kapoor Reveal Their Favourite Books

World Book and Copyright Day: From Manav Kaul To Sanjeev Kapoor Reveal Their Favourite Books

As bibliophiles around the world celebrate World Book and Copyright Day FPJ asks book-smart people from different walks of life to reveal their faves

Dinesh RahejaUpdated: Sunday, April 21, 2024, 12:51 AM IST
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Manav Kaul – Actor, Author

For years, you carry in your soul what you have read in your impressionable years. I realized this when I was writing my novel Shirt Ka Teesra Button two years ago and suddenly Raskolnikov appeared in my writing, writing a letter to Chitralekha. I had read Chitralekha

by Bhagwati Charan Verma back when I was 17 and still vividly remember the discussion the danseuse has with Chanakya. When I was 21, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment was absolutely path-breaking — in my head I was Raskolnikov and I lived like him for some time. The book which changed me and moved me towards playwriting and poetry is Dhund Se Uthati Dhun

by Nirmal Verma. Its stream of consciousness style of writing got me hooked to the mesmerizing world of literature. I would carry the book around everywhere.

Dharmesh Darshan – Director

As a filmmaker, I can identify with the biography of renowned director David Lean by Kevin Brownlow. David Lean felt that moving images represent constant movement, either of the camera or the characters. And this influenced me deeply to make my cult romantic films at the peak of my God-kissed film career. I, unfortunately, recommended the book to Aamir Khan who took away my copy that I had purchased in London. You well know Bollywood film stars — they only know how to endlessly take, never return or payback (hahaha). I just re-ordered the rare book online and incidentally was reading it in Kashmir, where David Lean shot the finale of A Passage To India.

Divya Dutta – Actor

Earlier, the book which brought solace to my soul was Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. I read the book first during my college days as a literature student; and I was intrigued by the complexities of love contained in the book. A quote from the book that has stayed with me is: ‘It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.’ Much later in life, I was introduced to Amrita Pritam’s works; and her book Rasidi Ticket touches my soul the most now. The way she looked at her life and the loves of her life, and the intensity and sensitivity in her words is beautiful. You subconsciously use elements from fiction in your daily life... I have done that with Rasidi Ticket.

Sanjeev Kapoor – Chef, Restaurateur, Entrepreneur

Reading Ikigai by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia works like a peaceful retreat for my soul. It’s like finding a calm corner in the middle of a bustling city. What truly resonates with me in Ikigai is its exploration of the intersection between passion, mission, vocation, and profession. I love how these aspects are explained so clearly for the reader to absorb. It essentially serves as a blueprint for a fulfilling life. I first read the book a few years ago, and it has influenced me to see things in a new light, encouraging me to prioritize what truly brings me happiness. While there are many wonderful thoughts  in the book, one really speak to me: ‘Only by staying active will you feel the desire to live for a hundred years.’

Satyarth Nayak – Author

The Mahabharata will always be my soul food. Everything about this epic is monumental. Every character has a million layers. Every read yields new lessons and insights. It’s like a virtual kaleidoscope which conjures new patterns with every viewing. I read it with true seriousness in my twenties and was overwhelmed. Despite being situated in the Dwapar Yuga, the epic remains forever relevant. It’s the interpersonal relationships that fascinate me. Also, the way this epic decodes dharma remains a huge influence. My favourite line is: Sambhavami yuge yuge. The promise that He will always return, will always be there for us.

Gajra Kottary – Author

I read Elif Shafak’s Forty Rules of Love when I was grappling with the empty nest syndrome — my kids had grown up and there seemed to be a vacuum in life, despite having it all in a sense. Although Ella’s story is very different, I could relate to her completely as a woman. The transformation of Rumi from scholar to seeker moved me. As did Ella, who, continents and centuries away, is influenced by this transformation and makes it her present. The universality of human emotion and the constant struggle we face as householders to be practical, while getting attracted to the spiritual that lifts us beyond...that’s an enduring area of interest for me. Whenever I return to the book, what appeals to me is the achingly simple belief that love is the ultimate spirituality.

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