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Sonam K Ahuja: I love reading because I like to be in another world

Sonam K Ahuja: I love reading because I like to be in another world – Sonam K Ahuja is a voracious reader. While working, she finishes ‘one book a week’ and when on a holiday, she doubles up her speed, the actress laughingly tells us as when we meet her for a chat during the Jio MAMI Word to Screen Initiative this year. The effervescent stylista says, “It was a conscious call to join this event because I wanted to be part of a movement that promotes reading and authors, in association with films. After all, these are the two things that I love the most — books and movies.” In a brief chat, she talks about her favourite paperbacks and discusses why she encourages the idea of novels being adapted for the big screen…

‘NOBODY READS MUCH TODAY’

Sonam rues, “Today’s generation doesn’t read much. It’s important to enjoy a book every week as it improves one’s vocabulary and writing skills.”

‘STORIES NEED TO REACH PEOPLE WHO DON’T READ BOOKS’

Calling writers the ‘backbone of every film’, the Neerja actress adds, “I love books because I have an overactive imagination and I like to be in another world. I do feel people today don’t have too much of an imagination, so the stories need to reach out to audiences who aren’t avid readers. I read The Handmaid’s Tale many years ago in high school and today, it’s a successful TV show.”

BOOKS TO FILMS

The style maven recently asked her industry friends to name the tomes that they feel deserved a screen adaptation. But there’s an ongoing debate about how films adapted from books, don’t retain the same values. Sonam tells us, “The reason you decide to adapt a novel onto screen is because you want the story’s basic essence to be translated on celluloid. So, it shouldn’t be much different, but carry its soul and spirit forward in an authentic way.”

Ask her which are her favourite adaptations and she smiles, “I like Sense And Sensibility and The Help. Among Indian works, I love Saraswatichandra and Devdas. Recently, I watched Sacred Games, which was terrific. Aisha was our film and I liked the way it was made. Even Lootera was beautiful and based on a short story. Sometimes, the movies are better than the books.”

CREATIVE INVOLVEMENT?

Apart from Aisha that was based on Jane Austen’s Emma, the Veere Di Wedding actress is currently working on two movies, which have been adapted from two bestsellers. She’s already kick-started shooting for The Zoya Factor while Battle For Bittora is in the pipeline. Is she creatively involved with the scripting of these films? Sonam avers, “It’s just been a few days since we started shooting for The Zoya Factor. The film was in planning for two years. As for Battle For Bittora, it’s happening next year.”

WEB SERIES OR A MOVIE?

Last year, the leggy actress had told us that she’s acquired the rights to Krishna Udayasankar’s Govinda. On prodding her about the status of that, she reveals, “We are definitely making Govinda. But currently, I’m trying to figure out whether it’s suitable for TV, the digital platform or cinema. Today, Baahubali and Padmaavat are doing well, so I’m hoping people will enjoy this one, too. However, it will take at least one or two years.”

Sonam K Ahuja: I love reading because I like to be in another world