Around the time that Hrithik Roshan was looking for the perfect blue carpet for his living room, he was also spending his days on the sets of Ashutosh Gowariker’s Mohenjo Daro, in which he plays an indigo farmer. The blue of the sets spilled over to the blues of his home. “While washing the pigment off from my hands one day, I realised that’s the colour I’d been looking for… not cerulean, not turquoise, something in between,” says Roshan. Detailed instructions were despatched to architect Ashiesh Shah, who had the task of commissioning a carpet first to a Turkish company and then to one in Jaipur, until his client was pleased with the results.
Roshan has been similarly exacting about every element in the house designed by Shah, which he moved into with his two boys 10 months ago. “Building this home was about discovering myself. I wanted to explore what would manifest on the outside if I went by what I felt inside,” Roshan tells me over coffee and the small eats I’ve been asked to pick from the Roshans’ home menu—a restaurant-style list that he got made for Hrehaan (10) and Hridhaan (8), who’re presently jumping off a perilous pile of floor cushions as a sort of mid-afternoon game.
THE BEACH LIFE
The Roshan home is a breezy affair—and it’s not just about the salty air wafting in from the Arabian Sea.
In the sprawling den adjoining the living room, where the lives of the three Roshan boys intersect, there’s a foosball table, a billiards table and a vending machine that dispenses chocolates. While it has the actor’s home office with a stack of bound scripts and tomes on moviemaking, it also houses a life-size graffiti by Daku—who Shah calls the Banksy of India—on a whitewashed brick wall where Roshan projects movies on weekends. It is here that I see the lion’s share of the weird and wonderful quotes spread around the house. For instance, a patch of wall near the billiards table has “There are two sides to every story” printed back to front such that it only reads straight in the mirror.
These quotes are spread through the house: from Latinate aphorisms to quirky one-liners penned by Roshan himself. If the home is an expression of his inner self, is Hrithik Roshan a funny man? He responds with a generous laugh. “There’s a child in me… I love to be interrupted when I’m thinking. When I think, I tend to walk a lot. So when I’m stuck in a loop, I’ll read something and switch my train of thought. It’s terrific,” he says.
The Roshans have one house rule: the family doesn’t have a fixed dining spot, never mind the dining room with the swanky Astrolab glass table by Roche Bobois and an imposing Raza. Instead, a foldable table is set up wherever the children fancy. “Sometimes, we’ll have breakfast right in the middle of the living room or we’ll have it on the terrace or in my bedroom,” says Roshan, adding, “It’s my way of telling my children to think outside the box, to imagine endless possibilities.”
The design and palette of the home is inspired by the sea, and the idea of travel and family. For the larger furniture pieces, Roshan made a couple of expeditions to Dubai, to stores such as Aati, Nautica and THE One. Many others were bought from his former sister-in-law’s eponymous home store, Simone. The accents are all nautical, whether it’s the driftwood-and-acrylic stools from the French brand Bleu Nature, the delicate corals or the wooden sailboat he found in Mauritius.
Despite the art and artefacts—a Desmond Lazaro quadriptych, a panel of vintage architectural blueprints among others—it is most visibly a child- and pet-friendly home. The all-white bar in the far corner of the living room might spell ‘bachelor pad’ but taking pride of place right beside it is a moveable grid with family portraits shot by Bharat Sikka. “I love it when people mess the place up,” says Roshan. “A home tied up in rules is not really a home. A home is about people feeling like they can be themselves, relax, kick off their shoes.”
I ask about his sweet spot in the house. For Roshan, it isn’t one chair or room, he insists it’s the whole house that calms him down. “That’s what homes are supposed to do—make you feel safe and secure. I trade my comfort and my privacy on sets and locations, so I have this to come back to. Like a bird that gets its little twigs and builds its nest…” he trails off.
For someone like Roshan, the home is very much a work in progress. The long entryway needs a runner; the dining room needs another artwork on the wood-finish wall, he tells me. He is only slightly embarrassed that his year of home decorating has led to apps like Better Homes and Gardens magazine and Mansion Homes being permanent fixtures on his iPad.
Mohenjo Daro, a movie about rediscovering the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, is scheduled to hit theatres this month. I ask Roshan what he thinks has remained the same when it comes to man and his habitat. “It’s the feeling of being safe,” he says, especially poignant in the light of his personal controversies taking up much newsprint recently. “It’s about building your inner world that is about yourself. Mohenjo Daro is the story of someone discovering his true home, and I filmed it while I was building mine.”
Interior architect: Ashiesh Shah. Fashion stylist: Akshay Tyagi. Make-up: Vijay Palande. Hair: Team Hakim’s Aalim. Personal manager: Anjali Atha. Flowers: House of Flowers By Marry Me