Traditional charm

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By Vibrant handicrafts from across the country give actress Locket Chatterjee's home a warm and earthy feel, says Lubna Salim PHOTOGRAPHS BY RASHBEHARI DAS
  • Published 9.10.11
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Actress Locket Chatterjee has never been attracted by the bright lights and the buzz of the city. She grew up by the Ganges on the northern outskirts of Calcutta’s Dakshineswar area, so when it came to choosing her own home, Chatterjee opted for a pad tucked far from the madding crowds.

Earlier this year she moved into a peaceful nook in Sherwood Estate in Narendrapur, on the city’s southern fringes. “I bought the duplex in 2006 but it was only in August last year that I started doing up the interiors,” says Chatterjee. And this April she moved into the 2,000sqft suburban home with her mother and 11-year-old son, who is currently in a boarding school in Darjeeling.

Chatterjee, who has a decade-long innings in the Bengali film industry behind her, is passionate about traditional crafts and her home bears testimony to this. “Whenever I’m on outdoor shoots I just can’t resist buying interesting handicrafts for my home,” says Chatterjee.

Chatterjee’s home is filled
with interesting handicrafts like
this quirky clay lantern
A cosy nook on the first floor is complete with a bar and seating arrangement, and makes for a perfect party zone

You enter the house through a small lobby, which is a cheery space with red window blinds that Chatterjee picked up in Tripura. A comfortable, leaf green upholstered couch completes the cosy picture. The look and feel of this space is very Northeastern. The warm glow from a red, Sikkimese lamp (it’s almost like a Chinese lantern) floods the lobby while a wooden replica of a tribal prohori (guard) from Assam stands tall just outside the door leading into the drawing-cum-dining area.

The centrepiece in the living area is a semi-circular sofa that rests against a deep red textured wall. Large cushions in gray, off white and red textured upholstery make the sofa inviting.

Besides handicrafts, Chatterjee is also a huge music lover. This is on show in the house in the form of an antique (and much treasured) gramophone on a cabinet in the living room which was a gift from a friend. “I’m not a party person and am busy shooting the whole week. But friends usually drop by on Sunday and we enjoy listening to old songs on this gramophone,” says Chatterjee.

The actress believes that bright hues make the interiors welcoming and cheerful. So, the living room also has colourful Santiniketan handicrafts including a vibrantly-coloured owl and, a wood and cane stool. To up the colour bar Chatterjee decided to have artists from Midnapore hand-paint a pillar in the living room. Says Chatterjee: “It took them four days to complete this work.”

The actress loves listening to old
songs on this antique gramophone
which was gifted to her by a friend
The actress uses brightly patterned bed-linen to break the all-white tones of her bedroom

Glass shelves on this pillar and a living room wall have both been used to display the actresses’ awards and trophies. These shelves connecting the pillar in the middle of the room to the wall on its right acts as a partition dividing the living and dining spaces.

Next to the dining room is Chatt-erjee’s mother’s bedroom that opens into a small garden with benches designed from thick logs. The garden can also be accessed through a door in the dining room. Diagonally across the dining area is a staircase leading to the first floor. “I converted the space beneath the stairs into a tiny store and put lights there to brighten up this corner,” says Chatterjee.

As you walk upstairs, you can’t miss the gigantic terracotta Ganesh mural on the landing and the vibrant orange wall and yellow ceiling. The landing is a chilled out space — complete with a bar counter, a leather sofa and a settee upholstered in red.

The first floor also has two bedrooms, a temple and Chatterjee’s workstation. “This is where I read, check my mails and work,” she says. While the rest of the house has been given white tile flooring, Chatterjee chose wood-finish floor tiles for her triangular work zone.

On the left of the workstation is her son’s bedroom which bursts with more colours: an electric blue study-table, red and blue cupboards and a red bed to match. A red beanbag with black hearts splashed on it makes a pretty picture and the room is perfect for an 11-year-old. The room overlooks the garden.

Chatterjee has an eye for all things vibrant and has filled her home with different colours and textures

Chatterjee’s own room is stark what with the pristine white flooring, dressing table and built-in closet. But she’s broken the colour with bright linen to make the room vibrant. She’s now thinking of converting the attached balcony of the room into a small sitting area.

Clearly a music-friends-and-adda person, Chatterjee is planning to set up a barbecue in her garden to entertain guests on sunny winter afternoons. She says: “My home is where I can be myself. In fact it is actually an extension of myself.”