Celebrity Homes

A spacious penthouse with a view

A ballroom dancer, an extravagant choreographer with a beautiful aesthetic sense, we bring you Sandip Soparrkar and his beautiful home

By Aayushi Shah | Pics by Parita Shah

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A hotel management graduate and an MBA from Symbiosis, Sandip Soparrkar, now a celebrated ball room dancer, started his career by choreographing at a dance event during his trip to Indiana in the US.

Sandip, who’s running his own studio, has also trained a number of Bollywood and Hollywood artistes. In a candid chat with Urban Vaastu, Sandip talks about his life and home and gives a peek into his spacious penthouse at Juhu in Mumbai. Excerpts:

Can you tell us about your house?

We have been living here since the past seven years, but I didn’t buy this house. This was an ancestral property which was ruined during the 2006 floods in Mumbai because of water logging. The property was sold to a builder who redeveloped it into an apartment complex. I live on the top floor which is a penthouse.

This house is east-west facing. We didn’t want to overdo the house as it is quite spacious, so we kept it simple and comfortable. Since my wife and I travel a lot for work, it is difficult to maintain the house as I would like to. So we have very minimal useful things.

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Do you plan to have an in-house studio, since your apartment is very spacious?

As of now we have no plans to have an in-house studio. We conduct classes in our respective studios. But sometimes I rehearse within the house or even on the terrace as there is enough space to break a leg (laughs).

We see a lot of red and gold in your home…

Aah yes, I like dark bright colours so everything in the house is colourful. Personally I’m very fond of red and gold, so as you’ve rightly observed, you will find more of red and gold in my house.

The sofas are in red velvet with simple gold coloured cushions on it. The chairs at the dining table have a red base and gold backs, and even the walls of my house are a deep maroon and white.

Which space in your house inspires you?

The balcony with the bar is one place where I enjoy sitting and watching the view. It’s best during the monsoons and winters as I sit there and think about new dance moves that I can do and basically unwind myself.

Do you have a terrace garden?

No, not as of now. Since we sometimes practice on the terrace we get more space and we have a wooden deck where we can sit and practice. The view is amazing and the openness gives us more energy and enthusiasm as it is refreshing and relaxing.

What would you look out for in terms of a smart home?

Smart is a very personal definition. Comfort is what I want and look out for. According to me a house should be comfortable, not over the top, not 5-star. It should be cosy and comfortable, a place where you can relax and enjoy. I wouldn’t over do my house. A simple, comfortable house is a smart house for me.

What is your dream home like?
(Laughs) Dream home… I guess rather than an apartment, I would prefer a big spacious bungalow with all amenities like huge balconies, comfortable indoor facilities, etc.

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But as mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t want to overdo it. I’d rather keep it simple and comfortable. It should look like a house and not a 5-star hotel.

How do you usually spend your day at home?

When I’m at home I prefer reading. I enjoy reading mythology and apart from that I relax at the and research on upcoming and latest music for my choreography. I also try and make new dance steps.

A home built with passion

A walk through the beautiful home of Ahmedabad-based art collector Anil Relia. Anil Relia has been collecting art, especially portraits since 1970. His vision is to connect India in a thread of art and pay back his dues to the art that has being so gracious to him. He wants to involve as many people as possible through his work and efforts and sensitize them to art and culture. He has planned a series of exhibitions and shows based on the theme of portraits that he has painstakingly collected over the years, out of which five have been already implemented.

Text: Shivangani Dhawan

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EMINENT art collector Anil Relia is known for his collection of portraits. He has over 3,000 portraits and his collection includes paintings by renowned artists like Raja Ravi Varma, M. F. Husain and S.H. Raza.

Born in Surat, Relia graduated from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in Fine Arts in 1978. He lives in a sprawling bungalow, Amrat, at Ahmedabad’s Thaltej locality. His collection of portraits, paintings and artefacts, some of which date back to the late 1860s, are kept at his home. Anil has beautifully balanced his passion along with his personal living space.

Many of the paintings are hung on the walls of the living room and other rooms. His home has lovely surroundings including a water body. Tastefully decorated, it has a lot of open space, both within and outside. One of the ground floor balconies has a lovely swing overlooking a lush garden.

Excerpts from an interview with the art collector:

Tell us about the history of this home.

I’m an art collector and when I decided to build a house 10 years ago I started looking for a large space. I don’t require the space to live but I wanted to display my collection within my home. I have purchased the art works over the years and have a huge collection which I possibly can’t display in its entirety. But I wanted to display certain pieces which have a memory attached.

What did you look out for while planning this home?

I designed this home with the help of my good friend Hiren Patel who’s also a renowned architect. He coordinated with me so well that he understood my requirements in terms of displaying my collection and also being able to live alongside it. It’s been seven years since I’m living here now and the designing and construction started about 10 years ago.

What is the best aspect of this home?

I feel that the best aspect for me is the artwork that’s hanging on each wall of the house. I had this idea from the beginning when I started designing it that each wall will have colourful paintings. To balance it out I made sure that the walls will be pearl white with the ceiling in its natural grey colour. I also made sure to keep the flooring in black flaming granite which is unpolished. So every room stands out.

I have also made sure to keep the natural colour of wood and other artefacts the way they were. I try not to change the originality of anything. I believe everything has its own time.

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Since you were very clear about the kind of home you wanted, what was the most challenging part?

I have a painting which is 20 ft long and finding a readymade home with a wall like that was impossible. I had that painting in a roll, but I really wanted to put it up. So while designing I made sure that I create a special place for that painting. Also, I have collected portraits and paintings from my friends and scrap dealers. It was a task to get in touch with people and travel to different places to collect. Mostly people would throw away their ancestral paintings and I would gladly take them for my collections.

Could you tell us about the beautiful water body outside?

I am extremely fond of water and fishes. I had space between my house and the guest rooms and that’s when I decided to give a break between the two with the water body. When the construction of this house was taking place, the soil that was dug was used to create a higher land around it, so that it could be at ground level and the garden surrounding it could be higher.

Actor’s aesthetic home

Urban Vaastu explores the beautiful and aesthetic home of actor Rajkumar Kanojia, in Mumbai which houses many breathtaking artefacts. Rajkumar Kanojia, popularly known for his roles in ads and films is an actor with 16 years of experience in the industry.

By: Shivangani Dhawan

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He has been a part of some well-known regional and Bollywood films. Urban Vaastu explores the beautiful and aesthetic home of the actor which houses many artifacts. Experts from an interview:

Tell us about the history of the home that you’re living in?

This is a 3BHK apartment and I bought it two years back. I really loved this house and bought it because of its location and the view. Even though it’s on the third floor we have trees in all three directions. It’s cooling during summers and the view is refreshing to the eyes.

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Which areas in your home inspire you? Why?

I love the French windows in my home. They are huge and cover the entire wall from top to bottom and give a beautiful view along with a traditional touch. I am very fond of nature and try to have lots of plants and greenery around the home. The windows overlook flower and fruit bearing trees that have
their branches coming in the house. It gives a serene feeling and that of one with nature.

You have a very traditional home…

Yes, I’m very fond of being traditional in all aspects. I have an antique theme in my home. I’m not fond of modern furniture or things. I love simplicity and that is reflected in my home too. I come across many modern homes but they give the feel of a hotel and I like my home to ooze homeliness.
I have old utensils and ‘kuhlar’ in which we serve tea. I like to keep my traditions alive within my home as well. You will majorly find rose wood furniture in my home.

You are very fond of collecting antique artefacts. We see many as a part of your home as well.

Ah yes, I have always been very fond of collecting antiques. You will find many antique artefacts in my home. Since childhood I’ve been very fascinated with collecting brass,wood and copper items. Most of the things in my home have been envisioned by me even before I got them.

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I have a lot of antiques in my home dating back to many generations and years. I have a lock in my home that’s been in my family since 30 generations. I also have paintings made by me and other eminent artists that I like to display on the walls. One of my most treasured items is the rose wood bar trolley that I got from an auction.

What major changes have you made in your home to accommodate your artifacts?

I had gone for the shooting of one of my Tamil films to Satara. There I came across this wooden partition which is made in one piece of wood and very old. I got it all the way from there and since it’s huge I couldn’t accommodate it within my home. So, I got one entire wall broken and got this
partition put there.

What care and precautions do you take to maintain your home?

Since I have a lot of wood in my house I get it polished and cleaned regularly. It’s expensive but it’s worth it. I try to get experts to do this for me.

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A contemporary house with a touch of ‘traditional’

Ashish Parikh, the well-known designer from Ahmedabad, talks about his beautiful home in a candid chat with Urban Vaastu.

Text: Shivangani Dhawan
Pics: Anjana Solanki & Dhairya Pandya

IN 2003, Ashish and Viral Parikh of Ahmedabad launched their label ‘Virtues,’ which was sold at 21 designer stores across the country and abroad. Viral graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Gandhinagar in 1999 after an internship at the House of Dior, Paris, for John Galliano’s Autumn-Winter Haute Couture Collection’ 98.

After graduation she joined hands with her husband Ashish, who is an MBA from Australia, and started their label Studio Virtues. Excerpts of an interview with Ashish:

Can you tell us about the home that you’re living in?
We’ve been living in this home since 1990. It was built in 1978. When we moved in, we had to transform it completely. We kept the structure intact but changed the overall look of the house. We wanted our work studio to be a part of the home so we decided to make it more of a living and work place. We started from one guest room initially, which we dedicated to the studio, but then it grew and now this home is more of a work place than a typical home.

So you believe in having work spaces within your home?
It’s a blessing in disguise for Viral since she’s a mother and also a part of Virtues. It’s easier and comfortable for her to manage the home as well as work this way. I have my family business as well. I feel when you have your work space within your home you lose your privacy.

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And that’s exactly what we face at times. Viral is very comfortable as she’s raising a kid and at the same time also investing her time for Virtues.

Which area in your home inspires you?
The wooden staircase is really ancient and it was there even before we bought the house. We got it fixed and polished because it’s rare nowadays to see a wooden staircase like this one. Apart from that, the dining cum living room is where we spend most of our time, since everyone in this house is a foodie.

Is this your dream home?
What would you want to change in it?This isn’t my dream home, but nevertheless we have made this very comfortable and suitable for our lifestyle, so that all of us can live comfortably and with a standard. But unfortunately this place is very noisy and for me my dream home should be in a place very serene, quiet and on the outskirts of the city.

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Which is the best area in your home? Why?
The lounge, the drawing room is the best area in the house. It’s comfortable and well done up. It’s spacious and has a positive vibe to it.

Presently my home is in the heart of the city and there is never any peace here, because the roads around are always abuzz with traffic which starts from 4am and goes on till midnight.

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What are the things you look out for to decorate your home?
We look for things that tickle the same interests in us. We wanted a comfortable home, which is more of our liking. We are very fond of ancient furniture and artefacts of heritage value; as you can see we have some interesting old wooden artefacts all around the house. We have also taken a liking for bright and vibrant colours on the walls with some texture as it adds dimension to the room and walls.

What according to you is the main feature of a good home?
It should be airy, well-lit with enough sunlight coming in.

It should have access to the outdoors, a place where you can just be away from the routine and it should also have a lovely kitchen.

How often do you renovate your home?
For the past six to eight years there hasn’t been a single season where a designer or a painter hasn’t been here for the renovations or changes in our house. For us it’s not fixed, we keep updating and renovating our home almost every two to three years. We’re planning to renovate our kitchen again.

What are the major aspects in terms of maintaining your home for which you take extra efforts?

You need to be aggressive when it comes to maintaining a house that’s constantly buzzing with people. We are grateful to our domestic help because they are constantly in the house and maintain it. My mom and my wife make sure to guide the domestic help too. People have to be active in the house to keep it clean.

What kind of indoor facilities attract you?
For this home I wanted a whole soundproof window panel as this area is very noisy and I’ll be working on that soon. Apart from that I am fond of indoor smart lightings that give a warm and soft feel to the room. I like incorporating such things in the house.

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A passion for art… and a class apart

Surendra Patel, civil engineer and designer, shares his experiences and journeys through time

Pictures: In House

A civil engineer and interior designer by profession Surendra Patel dons many hats. His warm personality is also reflected in his home. He is the designer and owner of the famous Vishalla restaurant in Ahmedabad, which is known for its warm and traditional interiors and exotic traditional food. Through his eventful journey in life, Patel is grateful for the love and support of his spouse. Excerpts from an interview:

By: Shivangani Dhawan

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You are very passionate about design and architecture. Is this what you wanted to do from childhood?
I was never good in studies and wanted to do something where I never had to study a lot. I was born in a small house in Dariyapur named Chaniya ni pol.

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I decided to have a utensil museum and now I have more than 4,000 different utensils. Vechaar was started on April 27, 1981 inside Vishalla.

My father used to work in a mill. He was a labourer there. When I decided to do engineering I never knew that it required so much of an effort and studies. I became a civil engineer and then got attracted towards architecture and design. I am also a painter and till date I have organised five exhibitions of paintings as well. I love collecting artefacts and I’m also an art collector.

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How did you come about conceptualising the idea of Vishalla?
Vishalla came into being on March 27, 1978. At that time, I wanted to make a place where people could come and feast on traditional hygienic food. We were three friends who thought of this restaurant and decided to hire a place. We had no experience of this and initially we took vessels from our homes. We had tremendous faith in god as we started Vishalla. I discovered the name ‘Vishala’ in the book Bhattachintamani of the Swaminarayan religious group.

How did you come about establishing ‘Vechaar’ the utensil museum?
Three years after setting up Vishalla, I tried to locate large utensils to render to the restaurant a more ethnic touch. That’s when I came across a place in Saurashtra where ancient utensils were being melted and sold for the brass value. I was deeply disturbed by this sight so I bought as many utensils I could, and brought them back to Ahmedabad in jute bags. I was constantly

thinking about these utensils and their value for our next generation as they will never be able to see such art ever. At that time I collected 1,000 to 1,200 utensils. That’s when I decided to have a utensil museum and now I have more than 4,000 different utensils. Vechaar was started on April 27 1981 inside Vishalla. It is now a public charitable trust and is the only museum of its kind in the world, displaying a precious collection of old utensils.

So, what is your next collection all about?
I am collecting chairs from the last 10 years. I have collected 1,200 chairs. And I plan to start a chair museum which would be India’s and the world’s first museum ever, that too in Vishalla. On my visits to Boston I came across many vintage chairs which were kept on sale. At that time I bought about 100 chairs and kept them in a garage for two years at a friend’s place. I then brought these chairs in a ship container to India.

Tell us something about your present home.
My wife and I shifted here two years back. I didn’t really renovate this home but made sure to install opaque glass doors so as to give a feeling of openness and for light to pass through. All over this home you can see beautiful handmade tiles. It took six to seven months for the interiors of this house to complete. I have tried to keep the structure of the home intact as I changed the interiors as per my taste.

Also, I got moulding done on the walls which give a lively effect to the plane walls. I also made sure to buy the furniture on my own. The ancient paintings on the walls were bought from the south, along with mirrors and lamps from Kolkata.

One home, four generations, one family

A walk through the ancestral home of Sohail Sen in Mumbai, which has housed the previous four generations of his family

Pics: Parita Shah

SOHAIL Sen, composer, musician and singer, belongs to a family of musicians who have had a long association with Bollywood.

“My great-grandfather, Jamal Sen did movies like Dayera and Shokhiyan with Kamal Amrohi, and my grandfather Shambhu did Mrig Trishna, which starred Hema Malini,” he says. “I followed in the footsteps of my dad Samir.”

Coming from a family with a legacy in music Sohail made sure to treasure all his memories within the ancestral home located at Versova beach in Mumbai. “We have been staying here for the past 50 years,” he points out. “In those days, there was only one road here and one BEST bus used to come once in morning and once in evening. So you had to time yourself and your work perfectly to go and come back on the same bus.”

The musician, whose son is now the fifth generation of the Sen family, also recalls there were mangroves in the area and barracks for soldiers. “You can also see the light from the lighthouse on clear days,” he says.

The Sens tried shifting once, but nothing could beat this place. “We used to stay as a joint family earlier. My dad and his two brothers all stayed together. I have grown up with my first cousins,” he notes.

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We have been staying here for the past 50 years. That time there was only one road here and one BEST bus used to come once in morning and once in evening. So you had to time your self and your work perfectly to go and come back on the same bus.

Sohil’s family home is among the few to have seen four generations of musicians. “My grandfather used to say that the bricks of this house resound with music,” he explains. “You can’t find a house like this. The music has changed over the past 50 years but our home stays on. What I am today is because of this place,” remarks the musician, whose studio was a kitchen about 20 years ago.

Being a creative person, Sohail craves for serenity and peace and he wishes his dream home encompasses these traits. “Everyone has a dream home and according to me it should be in the outskirts of the city,” he comments. “For a creative person there are just seven notes, out of which they have to create all the music. So we need peace of mind. Technology enables you to do a lot of things through emails. I would love to live in a bungalow, with a lavish garden and a studio, in a London suburb.”

Almost 90 per cent of an artiste’s time is spent in the studio, which becomes his first home. Sohil’s in-house mini studio is vibrant with movie posters and colourful frames on the walls. “The colours in my studio are positive and vibrant. That gives me a lot of energy,” he says. “For me, the look of the studio is more important as compared to my house as most of my time is spent at the studio.”

Originally belonging to Rajasthan, the Sen’s home reflects the colours and fabrics of the state, yet is simple, featuring earthy, yet vibrant colours and old artefacts that date back to his great grandfather’s time. “I believe in simple living,” he explains. “I don’t want huge rooms or bathrooms. I have been taught that one has to stay rooted and connected to the ground as much as possible.” For him success is something that comes and goes but being rooted can help you survive for long.

The living room has a wall with old family pictures – some black-and-white, others in colour – of his parents and grandparents. The house was designed by Sohil’s father. “I wasn’t allowed to enter the house until the day it was finished.”

After a busy day at work, Sohail unwinds in the living room, where he watches TV and plays on his PS4. “I am a hardcore fan of Formula 1, and during the season I am in the living room, watching TV,” he points out. “That’s the place where I want to sit and spend most of my time after work.”

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