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Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor and author Anuja Chauhan leave after a session "From Bat to Book to Bollywood" at Sharjah International Book Fair on 02 Novermber 2019. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Image Credit:

Sharjah Reading has “gone out of style” with people losing patience for books, Indian actress Sonam Kapoor warned during the Sharjah International Book Festival (SIBF) on Saturday.

Kapoor, who is an avid reader, said people’s attention spans have shrunk too low for a long read. Her comments came during a SIBF session with co-speaker Anuja Chauhan, author of best-selling book The Zoya Factor, which has been adapted into a movie by the same name, starring Kapoor.

Kapoor said reading “needs to never go out of style at all.”

She added: “I feel there are so many clickbait articles, there’s so much information on social media, on the phone all the time. People don’t have the patience to read anymore, and it makes me sad and it makes me very scared.”

Kapoor said reading builds character, adding that “any sort of depth that I have is only because of the reading that I did in my formative years, the reading that I continue to do”.

She was responding to a question on how books have inspired her work as an actress. Her remarks came during the session titled ‘From Bat, to Book, to Bollywood’, moderated by Dubai-based radio host Kris Fade.

The session was held as part of the #ReadtheMovie campaign organised by ‘Sharjah World Book Capital 2019’ in collaboration with SIBF.

Movies almost never live up to the books they are based on, said Kapoor, whose latest film The Zoya Factor is based on Chauhan’s 2008 novel.

Chauhan said her work is never meant to be a “blueprint” for a movie, adding that she does not write for “an audience”. Rather, Chauhan said, she writes “freely”, trying to tackle “larger issues” in her novels.

“Which is why I think I like writing romances, because even if I have a larger agenda – whether in The Zoya Factor it’s about superstition versus hard work, or Indian politics, or my latest novel is about the India-Pakistan conflict – whatever it is, there is a love story keeping you going,” Chauhan said.

“You can actually do some sly moral science-ing and putting out your point of view into the world once you mix it up with a romance.”