I grew up in the Middle East where our only access to movies was via fuzzy, heavily censored bootleg video tapes. There were no cinemas and Basic Instinct was only 20 minutes long.
Instead of celluloid dreams, I grew up with a fascination with other people’s lives and a keen eye for people-watching.
I love directing because every gig is an adventure. It’s tourism in unfamiliar worlds. It’s seeing the beauty in someone else’s everyday and making it magic. It’s connecting with collaborators, audiences and everything in between. It’s about making people feel something, provoking thought and getting them to perceive life in a way they might not have before.
It’s truly a privilege.
…seems to be where all the random objects that haven’t found their home in the rest of the house wind up.
There are a bunch of paintings and photographs that lean against the wall – because I can’t make up my mind where to put them.
The bookshelf serves as a plant hospice where unwell plants come to either revive or die.
This is the room that has seen ideas live in vivid colours through all-nighters and equally end up on the floor in crushed balls of paper.
It’s a home gym, a yoga studio, a gear stash and the accounts department.
Suns have risen and set in this room, cuts have been reworked, scripts have been redrafted and the dog has her own bed.
I love writing by hand.
I used to use a fountain pen that got surrendered to the trash after leaking on everything post-flight.
I now either use an Artline or roller ball: safer, but not the same.
I go through so many of these books. I wish they were full of complex poems, line drawings and memories that would unearth my genius posthumously.
Instead, they are full of terrible handwriting, notes from meetings, badly drawn stick figure storyboards and stream-of-consciousness, half-baked ideas.
But I love them because they are all mine: no shared docs, no uploading to the cloud, no feedback notes in the side column.
It’s pure unadulterated thoughts, the starting blocks for everything, all the bad ideas no one gets to see and the good ones that eventually get digitised into the computer.
This picture of my mum and dad is circa 1974 (ish?).
It was taken at the Rendezvous, the rooftop restaurant at the top of the Taj Mahal Hotel Bombay (as it was known then).
This photo had been forgotten between the pages of my parent's wedding album.
Amidst the stiffly posed familial combinations, was this candid shot – taken years after marriage and before I was on the scene. I love seeing my parents in their other life – not as my parents but as a young couple in love, out on the town.
It reminds me that you never are just one thing and my parents have been so much more than just my parents - that and the reality that my Dad punched above his weight and scored a hot babe.
The Books Books Books
I like the way books soften the walls and cosy-up a room – offering shelter, added insulation and a soft comfortable friend in your hand.
And yet they are wild rides into other worlds.
The Everything Bowl
Everything goes in the everything bowl.
It has accumulated items over the years and every so often I’ll empty it and start again.
Right now it has a bag of cash, my Russian name tag from the Vladivostok International Film Festival, some random lanyards and Eminem on cassette tape.
The Ceramic Tape
This was made by a friend of mine when he was at art school.
He did a bunch of objects that were mementoes of being kids in the 90s – disposable cameras, CDs, mini dv tapes.
I love the idea of an object that used to be so every day is now cast like an artefact in clay.
The Grandfather's Camera
I come from a long line of Chartered Accountants and hobbyist photographers.
I haven’t used it that often, and it mostly sits ornamentally on the shelf. But every so often I’ll load it up and I just love how physical it is to use.
The concertinaed chamber that extends the lens forward, the way everything clicks into place with assurance.
It’s worlds away from the instant tap of a button on your phone.
And let’s face it, every filmmaker has to have an old camera stashed somewhere right?