A Cowboy's Den

Monday, May 2, 2011



Residence Owned By Photographer Haider Khan in Andheri



Many of us use the power of pen to define objects and beauty, some of us even take the help of paint brush to portray beauty...but...writing with lights and shutter speed with an eye of creativity is his style. He captures frozen emotions and makes them speak forever through his lens as poetry with its unique saga of emotions. The city's one of the finest story teller through his eye of creative vision and India’s renowned photographer - Haider Khan.

While taking a tour around his bachelor’s pad, I could discover some untold things about him which we could not get a glimpse of in his captures…A 2 bhk apartment in Andheri west which he got completely transformed into his crafted world with fusion of fantasies which is so rustically coarse and yet so fertile. I couldn’t stop myself from asking him what inspired him to design his home to which he smiles and says…
” I am highly inspired by life in Texas, especially the Country side. Though I have never been there, yet so far but all I saw is in movies. The cowboy appearances have always fascinated me. So you can find lots of sleeper wood work at my home to get the rustic feel of the local area. Living like a Marlboro Man was my first fantasy which helped me design my abode that replicated the image which involves of a rugged cowboy.”


On gazing around the living room, few elements grab attention amongst which are the blocks of logs and metal chains. The surprised look that appears on my face makes him explain me that he collects logs from jungles especially for his shoots and he thought of using them along with the sofa. The unique blend created above the backrest portion with logs hanging using chains, lit from behind, just adds as a cherry over the cake of dramatics.



The use of logs, chains and lanterns blends with the ambiance and takes you in the 19th century Spanish era of the typical cowboy lifestyle. Haider’s home is just full of surprises. For him he lives in his world of fascination which is where he loves coming back to but for us it’s just another fold of his life that gets unfolded from his life.



The bar in his living room is another eye catching zone. It reflects the Western films which were enormously popular in the silent era. The Ranch environment created dramatically with a pair of handcuffs, skull, old golf stick, framed pictures of cowboys, Merlyn Monroe, and many posters hang on the rustic backdrop of sleeper wood. The indirect mode of lighting that he has chosen here emphasis on these objects. Turning gaze all around the guitar catches the attention.


To this he says: I love Goa. I also play Guitar. You cannot say I am a musical person but little bit of music is necessary. I wanted to have this musical side of Goa in my home along with my bar. Again the part you see in beaches and of course movies and music is a part of our lives”.


One room with a blend of cowboy culture and life of ranch yet adds a tinge of rhythm that makes it musical and the entire thing gets emulsified with different modes of lights that he has chosen. I was not surprised at this but again the curious look makes him speak: “I have used 34 – 35 numbers of lights to enlighten these elements. Every light is of different volts. I am a photographer and I understand that proper lighting is what is needed to enhance anything. These objects would lose its importance if lights of different volts and colors were not used and the feel of my home would not be the same in just day light or normal lighting. My job is to enhance the beauty”.

The package of surprise just does not end over here. Every element that has been added in this home to makes it look different and unique in its own way. I knew he was a creative guy and his ideas reflect in his photography but each of them has been inspired by different modes and regions. For doing this place he did not hire any Architect or Interior designer which as an Architect myself surprised me a lot. The dramatic look was his idea and his set designer who creates sets for his shoot just got it executed. The entire living room brightens up with a tinge of golden look. The even tone of this lighting gets broken at places with red, blue and green indirect light.


Haider’s Master bed room had another surprise. This part of the home is so similarly different from the typical cowboy attitude that he had reflected in his living room. His bed was of a very unique design. He immediately explained: “I love the Shikaras. The floating effect while sailing around in Kashmir mesmerizes me. So I thought of having a bed that looked like a Shikara and when I sleep on it I get the same feel of sailing in one of the Shikara”.





Though he wanted the feel of Kashmir at his home exactly the way it felt like sailing amidst the beautiful lakes and viewing the mountains, but living in a city like Mumbai which is always hustling sounded a bit surprising. He took me towards the window which covered one of his wall’s breadths. He said: “there is nothing constructed here. I see a green park outside my window all greenery no trace of dirt or noise”.

Just opposite the bed was his mirror. “I m not a self obsessed person but I love to have a mirror just opposite my bed”. There is a wall hung TV besides the bed. Though he is not a regular Tv watcher, yet sometimes he enjoys watching cricket while on his bed. The calmness of the bedroom is so unlike the rest of his home. I guessed this would be his favorite place in his home. The spark in his eyes with which he shows me the greenery outside his window says it all. He admits “this is my favorite place. I love to spend time here when I am home and don’t have much work. When I invite my friends at my place for parties, we sit in here and watch movies together. I love the silence over coziness here”.


Haider Khan who is best known for his story telling though photographs has the most unusual storyline in each aspect of his home. The way he makes his models and actors look stunning though his captures is so very different from what he reflects to be at his den. A short visit to this cowboy’s den really left me mesmerized and took me to a different era. Though he has always been a great friend but I was unaware of this cowboy nature of his that reflected so well at his residence. Unveiling this side of Haider made me know him a little more and when I was asked to write about his home I was thrilled as if I had been through an adventure land myself. From forest to the ranch, crossing the beaches and moving to the Shikaras was much an exciting journey under one roof which not only unfolded the real Haider Khan but also acquainted all of us with his fanciful and yet adventurous world whose melodies are audible through his home photographs.
Text By : Pameli Kayal
Date : 30th April 2011
For : India Today
Photograph Courtesy : Haider Khan

13 comments:

debarpita mohapatra said...

Awesome... it really shows his passion. Or else I was expecting a photographer's home to be quite open and vibrant.

PAMELI said...

As much as I know him ...he s damn passionate abt his wrk...esp wen he cliks my fav - salman khan....i wont agree to open n vibrant part...its not may be dats y he could play with the lights...i m soon gonna post a beach house..where u can see the tangible openness..but here i wd say he has defined them and segregated his likings in a proportioante manner

Mohit Malhan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mohit Malhan said...

Good Story, love the way you have narrated it...must admit the passion the person has is evident..he knows more about Texan culture then what I do..pribably being here in Texas for 3+ years from now...huh!

Mohit Malhan said...

Good Story, love the way you have narrated it...must admit the passion the person has is evident..he knows more about Texan culture then what I do..pribably being here in Texas for 3+ years from now...huh!

PAMELI said...

thanks Mohit..ya he knows Texan ways.....i must say even d sets he makes r really gud....esp d 1s for Salman Khan...!u r still in Texas....i thght u shifts alongwth Smarak

PAMELI said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
soumya said...

great narration, moreover great to know the other side of the personality.....

PAMELI said...

thnks Sam......:)//i ll convey ds to the person concerned..:)

Sujata Trivedi Bagchi said...

Striking, both the ambience of the apartment as well the article describing it, kudos to the designer as well the writer.

Sujata Trivedi Bagchi said...

Striking , in one word. The apartment's ambiance as well the article describing it, kudos.

artanushree said...

Its my great pleasure to go through ur design. Loved the way u have narrated it and ur design too....

PAMELI said...

Sujata Mam.......I wish some day i h=get to do my dream project and write on it as well

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