Even while Kamal Kamaraju is occupied with his film assignments, he makes sure that architecture and painting, his other loves, don’t take a back seat. During these tough times, the actor is enjoying spending time at his new farmhouse, Aalaya, near Chevella, which he built last year.
“Aalaya was my attempt to explore the ‘organic-contemporary’ philosophy,” Kamal explains, and adds, “Being an architect myself, while building homes, I had always advocated blending organic and natural materials with contemporary styling. And the result is a naturally luxurious and welcoming environment.”
He wants to experiment with the use of limited land spaces (instead of villas) that are easily manageable, and Aalaya was a step in that direction. The 600 square feet farmhouse has been designed using stonewall architecture.
“As a kid from Hyderabad, my fascination for stone as a material goes deep. From my walks along the by-lanes of the old city, to my thesis which took me deep into the walls of Golconda Fort, I feel a pull for stone,” he shares.
Kamal has been growing vegetables and fruits at Aalaya. “My father is fond of plants, and I grew up in an environment where greenery was naturally integrated into living spaces,” Kamal explains, adding that he enjoys open spaces.
“Spending time in nature’s lap and experiencing it calms me down. It’s something that everyone has to experience to understand one’s own self. It also makes us realise that we are part of nature too, and it calls for sustainable living,” says the actor, who recently recovered from COVID-19.
“Aalaya is an ideal place for me to be now; this place is my stress buster and is like a temple. It’s a place where I brought together my favourite elements of architecture. I ensured that the small house is built aesthetically,” he adds.
Being a painter, Kamal is also using art to rejuvenate himself. He has sent his works to several art exhibitions. For him, painting, architecture, and acting complement each other.
“There are a lot of similarities among these three professions. While films are about storytelling and how the audience understands and experiences it, I treat construction materials as characters in architecture and focus on how impactful they can be. And I always try to awaken people’s social conscience through beauty in my works of art,” he explains.
The Godavari actor urges people to practice building their own homes, and not rely on ready-to-occupy houses. He says that the fear of building and the idea that one should build only in huge spaces have to be done away with.
“As an architect, I need to remove that fear, make people understand the joys of building in small plots. Aalaya is my attempt to demonstrate that we can build houses even in small pieces of land,” he shares.
Kamal also reveals that in August last year, he had translocated five 70-year-old trees from Banjara Hills to another site in Chilukuru. On another note, the actor says the second wave of the pandemic has been devastating.
“I just lost one of my dear friends who was very young, so it’s very depressing to even think about it. Perhaps it’s time we understand that life is very short, and
it should be about being appreciative of what we have,” he signs off.