The prolific director sets the stage in her own apartment with a mix of timeless art, modern and traditional furniture pieces, travel finds and her vast collection of books and films

Looking out to the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea, Zoya Akhtar’s house in Mumbai is nothing short of a time capsule. The home, which has been in her family since the ‘70s, has seen history in the making. And if the walls could talk, they’d tell stories of impromptu jamming sessions, poetry readings and parties rife with actors and musicians.

“I can’t say I built this house. It’s a part of me…I travel a lot, so it’s got stuff from wherever I go. It’s got old things mixed with new things. It’s my style, but the soul of the house, it’s inherited,” says Zoya, and it’s clear what she means when you look around. There’s a lived-in vibe to the space and while it is filled with art and other furniture pieces collected over time, nothing feels out of place.

While the white walls help in opening up the house, there’s another reason why Zoya has kept her walls blank – she wants the colour to come in through the textiles and artworks that have been collected over the years. Against this blank canvas, vintage pieces peacefully co-exist with more modern ones – like the 1950’s aviator chairs and the centre table that was once a Naga bed.

We could all take a cue from Zoya’s bedroom policy – strictly no work or hanging out with friends, only for sleeping. Her work is confined to the TV viewing area and the study – the former filled with scores of DVDs and latter filled with books from one wall to the other. “Misplace my books and you will never be invited to another party,” she cautions.

What we envy the most is the tiny patch of green she has right outside her home – her own little oasis in the concrete jungle. “I thank my parents everyday for this!” she laughs, “It’s very green, it’s really pretty and that’s my mother. She’s the one in the family with the green thumb.”

You can say the home is an extension of Zoya – warm and welcoming. “It’s an open house, and the people that come in and out are the people you love and trust. And I like having a place where people can come anytime.”


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