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Interview | I might write a cop-drama next: 'The Bard of Blood' author Bilal Siddiqi | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

As a child, Bilal Siddiqi was an avid reader and bibliophile. Whether it was Tintin or Asterix or books by author Richmal Crompton, little Bilal would devour them all. But, it was in class seven that he read a book that would have a long- lasting impact on him. “It was The Godfather,” he says. And before you can exclaim how a boy that young was allowed to read the book that’s an extremely violent account of a fictional Mafia family, Bilal reveals that when his dad did not allow him to buy it from the bookstore, he would just visit the store and read it there itself! “I started to understand a lot of things they had kept away from me,” he laughs.

When he was in college, the then 19-year-old assisted author Hussain Zaidi on his project and started developing a spy thriller of his own. Encouraged by Hussain, who he considers his mentor, Siddiqi wrote The Bard of Blood. Now, at the age of 23 and with three books under his name, his spy thriller has been picked up by Netflix Inc to be brought to life as an eight-episode high-octane political espionage thriller series, in partnership with Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment.

When you were writing the book, did you write it with the hope of it being adapted into a movie or a web series later?

Actually, I did. That’s something Hussain sir told me. If books are written well, people will try to lap up the rights.

How did this association with Netflix happen?

We spent around six-seven months for the pitch. Mr Khan (Shah Rukh) gave a lot of inputs and suggestions to enrich the story. There were some rounds of back and forth. It’s extremely exciting for any writer to see their work getting converted into something as big as a Netflix series.

Are you involved in the casting process?

It’s too early for that. I will be creatively involved on the show. We will take some time to lock the screenplay before we get into casting. I want to make sure that the writing lives up to their standards.

Do you have any anyone in mind to play RAW agent Kabir Anand?

I really don’t. When I write my characters, I tend to make a sketch of them. It’s like a doodle at the back of the book. But I think it’s too early to even think about casting.

Your second book was The Kiss of Life co-authored by Emraan Hashmi and the third was The Stardust Affair. How was the experience of writing these two books?

I met Emraan through Hussain sir and we developed a rapport, where he was comfortable handing over the responsibility of the book to me. I’m so thankful to him because it was an important book, even for me, in a lot of ways. It was a human story at heart. I was very scared of taking it on. I had just written a spy thriller and was only 20 at that point. From fiction to getting into this serious non-fiction zone and someone trusting you with that, was a big thing for me. Then, my third book got me in the fiction space again but of a different kind. It was a little more in the Sidney Sheldon school of writing. It’s about a ghost writer who gets involved in the murky world of a former actress.

Are you working on your next book?

I am thinking of a couple of things. I might want to do a cop drama next.

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