A Mumbai pad stamped with stories of Benaras: Celebrity designer Rupin Suchak scripts a nostalgic home for filmmaker Anubhav Sinha
MAY 12, 2023 | By Pratishtha Rana
There is nothing ordinary about life in Varanasi, colloquially called Benaras. Some would call early mornings in the city of Ghats a phenomenal time of the day. Soft, consuming cascades of sunlight filter through the seamless lattice of cable wires, while the cobbled lanes, colourful facades of homes and the classic antique wooden windows quietly chant its ageless history to the passersby. More than a hundred gullies in Benaras and none feel foreign even to the first-time visitors. An undeclared scent of familiarity always wafts through.
But how does one translate such pure, spiritual but complex potpourri of sentiments into a home? The answer to this was found stacked rather conspicuously at filmmaker Anubhav Sinha’s home in Mumbai. Celebrity interior designer Rupin Suchak was entrusted with Anubhav’s native origin of the holy city of Kashi to be unassumingly layered into the 6,000 sq ft space in the urbane Juhu, which originally was a bare, untouched shell.
The joy of unpredictability
“It is a complete makeover. The home is a reprise version of walking the streets of Benaras with pockets of Benarasi flavours and voracious contemporary styles fused together,” muses Rupin.
A new-age pirouette given to the old-world visuals of Benaras, the home essentially crafted for Anubhav, his 90-year old father and brother Anupam, breaks away from the idea of predictable design. The assembly of decor, furniture and curios spill into the cultural fabric of the family’s hometown while guarding its modern existence in a cosmopolitan city.
Surprisingly, the first discussions between the designer and the homeowner indicated a truly modern, British-style den. “But with my consistent evolution in design and references sent by him [Anubhav] of things he liked from his travels, I could see this house shifting towards his roots,” recalls Rupin. Thus was born an exemplar of a classic Indian home.
The entrance is where the script unfolds into a genre of experiments by Rupin, who’s also been a production designer for a host of movies. Traditional street murals, restyled wooden seaters, a caress of green plants and rustically embellished ceiling stand as the precursor to the rest of the home.
Balancing the overwhelming spaciousness, a witty interlude of arches, straight lines and curves contour the walls and floors. And the dwellers’ nostalgic past becomes the protagonist with a common foyer turned upside down into a gallery of family photographs put up on the roof and walls.
Typical layouts and boring functionality take a backseat to let art and instinctive design ideas drive the making of the home. Rupin calls it a strange equilibrium between maximalism and minimalism, and we see why.
Many corners including the furniture from his in-house studio ‘Wacky Warehouse’ draped in an organic mood of wood sit juxtaposed with the splendid suspension of the opulent chandeliers. Then there are walls decorated with artworks by Rupin and his team alongside the bedrooms that are designed to exude a regal rhythm but an equally intimate setting.
“The fact that only 3 men have to reside in the house was brief in itself that had to come out. So a lot of elements that I could pick my metaphors from, in order to make the space emotionally resonate with everyone yet take them on a journey to their roots,” states the interior designer.
A conscious illustration of the snippets of daily life from Benaras, a 3,000 sq ft terrace and balcony area coop up indoors. Harbouring it all, “From ‘Benaras-inspired Jhoola to outdoor courtyard feels of Chowk where wise and old men sit on a grandfather’s chairs, to a live cholla on one side for fresh barbecue, the space hits the visitor with an artistic prowess,” says Rupin Suchak.
Mapping the right moodboard
A prominent foundation of the home is its canvas of colours and materials. From pink and chikoo stones from Rajasthan and tiles from Morbi to IPS treatments and colours of whites, neutrals and terracotta along with some pop-y hues build the character of the abode further.
Between this sentient time-travel from the history of Benaras to the present adventures of the homeowners in Mumbai, the home grows out of its template of concrete and decor to become a stage enacting the map of an entire city inside it, centuries-old at that.
Loved this home by celebrity designer Rupin Suchak? Now read: A museum of past, present, future is this Mumbai den of Godrej Vikhroli’s CEO Anubhav Gupta