Enlightened: a Conversation with Sinbad Phgura of The Twilight Players

Your favorite comfort food on a night in?

SP: Chinese always works. And Thai. Those two always hit the spot.

What do you like to do on a night out?

SP: Again, that changes you know. I am a bit of a socialite, and when I’m out and about I’m just as happy in a swanky place or at an East London drinking den. As long as there’s a good vibe in the place, good energy and a host of interesting people. Oh, and good music, of course.

Would you rather travel to an exotic destination or discover a new spot in your own city?

SP: I would go to the exotic destination first, and when I’d get back, I would go discover my own city. I’m not going to forfeit the luxury travel! You know Nina, it’s not about this or that. It’s about this AND that! Leave no stone unturned.

Currently, what is your favorite song?

SP: I’m going to be biased and say I’m loving the Dev.D soundtrack. Every bit of it. And I’m listening to the No Smoking soundtrack by Vishal Bhardwaj. That’s got some wicked tracks. I have to say that when people are talented in India, they are bloody talented. Just look at A.R. Rahman, it’s just amazing the amount of music he produces. So vast and prolific.

And your favorite film?

SP: This reminds me that I am so lucky to be sitting here talking about something I love. Anyway, I’m surrounded by films in my home. There is no single favorite one. There is always a new one coming along that I love. I really liked The Motorcycle Diaries and Tare Zameen Par. Different films but both hit the spot. I’m a softy when it comes to movies. Not an action film guy or a Vin Diesel fan, by any means. Another film I loved was In the Mood for Love, talk about style, the way it’s lit. And Far from Heaven, I loved the color treatment in that. Also, Paul Newman was too good! I love classics like Cool Hand Luke.

What does the word ‘Elegance’ mean to you and who represents it in life?

SP: Wow, that’s a good question! It’s funny, in life we don’t ask a lot of questions. When we are children we are constantly asking questions, to find out the answer to this and the answer to that. But as adults, unless you are getting interviewed like it’s happening to me now, we don’t get asked many questions. Questions make me realize that we may not know as much as we think we do. So, lets do this… Let me throw the question back to you. What is elegance to you?

It changes, depending on what I am working on. Right now, The Twilight Players represent ultimate elegance, because your style is timeless and you are trendsetters. And elegance to me is something that transcends space and time, can feel at home in a royal palace or in the slums. If I had to choose a woman who represents elegance to me, it would be the late Natasha Richardson. Always so glamorous. And as a man…

SP: Johnny Depp, he’s elegant! He’s got that rough elegance, which I find more fascinating in a way. Like what you were saying. He can leave the red carpet and go hang out in a cafe and he’s quite chilled there. The only problem with my statement is that everyone thinks that Johnny Depp is amazing and I always want to do my own thing… Elegance is understated confidence, I guess. Elegance is someone who can make other people feel comfortable and at ease in their presence. Not a flashy thing but more quiet… I think it’s what I try to find through my photographs and it may be easier for me to describe through my images. Every photograph I take, I try to find the elegance of mankind in some way. Be it from a child on a beach in Mauritius, to a monk in the Himalayas, or a little girl with her camel. Their elegance makes me feel elegant, alive and amazing. Even in circumstances where we don’t speak the same language, when I look at the picture months later, it reminds me of how connected we were. It’s almost a window into myself. Maybe the search for elegance is an inner search to find out who we really are. I’m still learning.

Photo of Sinbad Phgura by Amit & Naroop, courtesy of Phgura, used with permission

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