Bollywood Bookshelf: The books that shaped Saif Ali Khan’s thinking

Updated on Dec 08, 2018 10:45 PM IST

Saif Ali Khan reveals his love for Bertie Wooster, and says the movie of his that’d make a good book, is Cocktail!

(Getty images)
(Getty images)
Hindustan Times | ByZuni Chopra

An incredible actor and passionate reader, Saif Ali Khan’s sophisticated taste in books is reflective of his work as an artist. Despite the constant flow of scripts into his reading time, he still makes time for a classic book. His impressive library, filled with first editions and signed copies, would make any bookworm jealous (including me!). As an actor, there are certain iconic characters that have made him who he is today; he’s always kept them close to his heart. Saif made time to have a quick chat with me about all things literary!

“The first book that shaped my identity was Alfred Hitchcock’s The Three Investigators! ”

Do you remember the first book that shaped your identity?

SAK: Probably a kid’s book. I think it was Alfred Hitchcock’s The Three Investigators.

If your house was on fire and you could save three books, which three would you choose?

SAK: I’d probably save the first editions I own. One of them would be The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe. Another would be the folio edition of The Holy Bible. And I think the last would be the first edition of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Oh! And also The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie.

Which fictional character do you most identify with?

SAK: Bertie Wooster in P.G. Wodehouse’s work.

What’s a classic you haven’t read?

SAK: A classic I haven’t read… Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Name your top three favourite authors.

SAK: Leo Tolstoy, Umberto Eco and Salman Rushdie.

Who’s your favourite hero of fiction?

SAK: Sherlock Holmes.

Changing tack a little here: what non-fiction book would you recommend?

SAK: The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck.

“Who’s to judge what people want to read to entertain themselves?”

What book that hasn’t been made into a film would you want to see a film adaptation of?

SAK: Maybe something… concerning the East India Company or one of the great Mughals. Like the story of Aurangzeb. A period drama.

Do you judge people on the basis of their book choice?

SAK: No, of course not. Who’s to judge what people want to read to entertain themselves?

What’s the most underrated book or book series?

SAK: The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie.

What’s your favourite reading spot?

SAK: In bed or in the living room. Actually… the library!

“[Out of my films] I think Cocktail (2012) would make a pretty cool book”

Kindle or hard copy?

SAK: I’d have to say hard copy.

Which fictional character would you like to cosplay as for a day?

SAK: Again, probably Bertie Wooster. Or Joe Sackett, the cowboy from Louis L’Amour’s work.

What’s your favorite book-to-screen adaptation?

SAK: The Lord of the Rings. Amazing adaptation. I don’t think there’s ever been a better one!

Nice choice! And lastly, which movie of yours would make the best book?

SAK: I think Cocktail (2012) would make a pretty cool book.

(The author is a 17-year-old girl from Mumbai who has written the novels The House That Spoke and The Island Of The Day Before. She is a regular contributor to HT Brunch)

From HT Brunch, December 9, 2018

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