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Zoya Akhtar’s family home is treasure trove of beautiful art, furniture and 70s Bollywood memories

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The prolific director’s apartment sets the stage perfectly with a mix of timeless art, modern and traditional furniture, travel finds and her vast collection of books and DVDs

Looking out over 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 jam sessions, poetry readings and parties brought alive by actors and musicians.

Zoya Akhtar opens the doors to her sea-facing family home for a tour

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

While the white walls lend the house an open feel, there’s another reason why Zoya has kept her walls blank – she wants her collection of textiles and artwork to bring in the colour. 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 - it’s only for sleeping. Her work is confined to the TV viewing area and the study – the former is filled with scores of DVDs and latter with books from wall to wall. “Misplace my books and you will never be invited to another party,” she cautions.

Though, what we envy the most is the greenery she has right outside her home – her own little jungle amid an otherwise concrete-overrun city. “I thank my parents every day for this!” she laughs, “It’s very green, it’s really pretty and that’s all thanks to my mother. She’s the one in the family with the green thumb.”

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

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