Celebs share why the audiobook medium is selecting up

Gurnaaz Kaur

Other than being great at their acting chops, celebs such as Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Kalki Koechlin, Rajkumar Rao, Radhika Apte, Neena Gupta, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Diljit Dosanjh, Divya Dutta and many more have another thing in common. They are now book narrators!

After releasing her book, PeeCee recorded the audiobook of her memoir, Unfinished. She shared videos from the recording session on Instagram and one of the captions read, “This is so hard to do, but I am so excited for you to hear this book.”

 Divya Dutta

Kaali Awaazein is a book written by Mishkka Singh Shekhawat and narrated by Amitabh Bachchan and others. Rajkummar Rao, Radhika Apte and Kalki Koechlin lent their voice to Mafia Queens of Mumbai, a short story collection by S Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges. Similarly, Alia Bhatt joined Harry Potter At Home initiative last year and read chapter eight of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. With a glimpse of the recording, Alia shared the experience of becoming a part of the magical world. She wrote, “Two months ago Harry, Hogwarts, and the wizarding world walked into my life and almost immediately, in my heart. Somehow, when I was younger, life always intervened and I never quite got around to befriending the books. But. Just like magic, two months ago, I did. And, just like magic, 10 million points to Gryffindor!”

Emotional touch

Like she said, reading isn’t necessarily a part of everyone’s life for various reasons but with audiobooks, things can change. Divya Dutta recently recorded her own book Me and Ma. She says. “You are not just telling a story, but also adding emotions to make your listeners feel exactly what the book is conveying. Maybe because I do a lot of voiceovers for ads, so I was eager to try this medium.”

Actor and RJ Mantra Mugdha, who has narrated over 20 books, adds, “I am into audio-shows and audiobooks. While in audio-shows there is support of background music and you are responsible only for your character, audiobooks can be challenging since you are not only narrating the book but also playing different characters. It is surely tedious but I enjoy it. Of all the books I have recorded, my favourite one has been The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.”

Actress Saumya Tandon looks at narration as an art. Narrator of You, Me and Tara by Nikita Singh on Storytel, a Sweden-based audiobook firm, she feels, “It has been a huge learning experience as an artiste; to explore your voice, how many different ways there are to use it. It is extremely challenging and very interesting to explore the use of voice to be able to convey so much.” She adds, “You just have your voice to create the atmosphere; in one minute it can be funny and in the next you have bring in suspense!”

Personalised experience

So, can audiobooks replace paperbacks and ebooks? Divya Dutta opines. “Well, reading is a very personalised experience where you create your own world. You can’t say one is better than the other.”

Quite on the same page, Mantra feels every medium has its own space. “The old-school readers, who love the feel of holding a book, will remain, but what about the people who would love to read books but don’t have that kind of attention span? Reading is a different skill altogether, so why should they miss out on books?”

Saumya adds, “After coming to Mumbai, I tuned to audiobooks because of the long travelling hours to go to my sets because watching a movie in a moving car is not good for your neck and eyes.”

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